Hungarian Television Station Sanctioned for Broadcasting a Defamatory Program

29 October 2003

On April 15, 2003, the Budapest-based Roma Press Center (RSK) reported that the Hungarian National Radio and Television Board (ORTT) found that the Hungarian television station TV2 had gravely violated the dignity of Roma in Hungary when, on March 30, 2003, it aired "My Big Fat Romani Wedding". TV2 was obliged to suspend its broadcasting for half an hour, beginning at 6:30 PM on April 11, 2003. According to the RSK, TV2 management declined to appeal the decision and, in an apparent gesture of goodwill, broadcast a debate about the representation of Roma before and after the suspension of its broadcasting. According to the Budapest-based English-language weekly newspaper Budapest Sun, the disciplinary proceedings with the ORTT were initiated by Mr Jenő Kaltenbach, the Parliamentary Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights ("Ombudsman"). The programme depicted Roma not attending school, stealing cars, fighting and expressing pride in their ignorance. The Hungarian Minister of Education, Mr Bálint Magyar, expressed the opinion that the programme "played on latent anti-Roma feelings in Hungary" in the interest of achieving higher ratings, according to Budapest Sun.

(Budapest Sun, RSK)


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