Following the response to my article (“All for one or one for all?”, Centre for Fair Political Analysis, The Budapest Times, 25-31 May 2012) by reader Nicholas Ryan in a letter to the editor (“Shame on you for publishing that propaganda”, The Budapest Times, 1-7 June 2012) I feel I must set the record straight.
Mr. Ryan seems to confuse the difference between analysis and personal opinion. Stating a fact or an outcome does not necessarily mean one shares that view. In my article I tried to interpret the reasons why the government has taken certain actions. It is not my duty to judge Fidesz’s acts; my duty is to try to make sense of it all.
While Mr. Ryan is entitled to disagree with my analysis, suggesting that it was published as a result of threats to the newspaper by the Media Council or that my colleagues or I are part of the “Fidesz-propaganda machine” is alarming. Does it mean then, that objectivity is in the eyes of the beholder? Does it mean that we are free to label anyone we disagree with as an enemy?
I fully excuse Mr. Ryan though, as he himself states in his letter that he has “… no idea who the Centre for Fair Political Analysis are…” Had he taken the time and effort, he would have seen that Centre for Fair Political Analysis’ articles have been appearing monthly in The Budapest Times for several years now.
In fact, we have been spreading our “propaganda” of nonpartisan analysis in national and international media since 2006. The New York Times and Der Spiegel for example, just to mention a couple. All highly impressionable newspapers, I’m sure.
Yes, as in all countries propagandists exist in Hungary as well but Mr. Ryan is looking under the wrong rock. Had he dug a little deeper he would have seen that as a highlight of our research, singularly in Hungary, we have introduced 40 think-tanks so far from all over the world, regardless of their political values or ideology, out of no other reason except the importance of their intellectual contributions to society.
If we are “guilty of propaganda” it is only of spreading Western democratic values and international best practices for social cohesion, inclusion and civic education through historical and international comparative analyses.
Governments have come and gone, yet we have never wavered in our standards. As an independent non-party-funded think-tank dedicated to creating a more tolerant political culture and strengthening democratic traditions in Hungary, we are proud to be able to speak freely and without any political pressure. Therefore I must reject forcefully any claims made in this direction.
I trust the readers of The Budapest Times will draw their conclusions based upon their experiences of many years of independent analyses provided by the Centre for Fair Political Analysis.
Centre for Fair Political Analysis