The opposition mayor of Budapest’s 7th district, Peter Niedermuller has terminated the local council’s contract with Heti TV, which means that Europe’s only Jewish television has to leave the building it resides in, according to Hungarian press reports.
Peter Breuer, the owner of Heti TV told Neokohn.hu that the previous council was much more co-operative (before 2019 the 7th district was ruled by Fidesz, the current mayor is a former MEP of the Democratic Coalition). The previous council supported Heti TV’s local news programme by 5 million HUF, which Niedermuller reduced to 2 million HUF and then cancelled altogether.
According to Breuer, moving the studio into another building is beyond the financial means of the television, not to mention that it would prevent them from broadcasting for months. He told Israeli-Hungarian news site Uj Kelet that swastikas have been painted on the doors and windows of their building for the last couple of months. He also mentioned that he was notified via text message by the mayor that the council rents their building to someone else.
Speaking to Hir TV, Breuer blamed Niedermuller for their “eviction”. He reminded that the right place for Europe’s only Jewish television is in the 7th district, the Jewish Quarter which used to be a ghetto during the final stages of World War II. According to Breuer, Niedermuller wants to kick his television out, because he refuses to invite politicians from the formerly extreme right-wing Jobbik party, which is still often accused of anti-semitism.
Both Niedermuller’s DK party and Jobbik are part of the joint opposition. In 2020, their joint candidate for a by-election in Borsod county, Laszlo Biro was heavily criticised for his Facebook posts, in which he called the country’s capital Judapest, and referred to Israeli tourists with an anti-semitic slur commonly used by the extreme right. In 2012, Jobbik MEP Marton Gyongyosi urged the government to draw up lists of Jews who pose a “national security risk”.
According to Media1, Niedermuller claims that his decision is not political: the Fidesz government’s measures during the pandemic have put local councils in a difficult financial situation. Breuer says that in his application, he offered a higher bid than the other applicants, but the council still wants him out. He told Uj Kelet that the story is not over yet, the tender hasn’t been closed yet, so it’s still possible that his application will win after all.
In a statement on Tuesday, Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party denounced Niedermuller’s decision.
Source: Hungary Journal
Photo: Heti TV