The US Ambassador to Hungary

US ambassador on controversial journalist award

March 19, 2013

"The Government of Hungary’s decision to award a national prize to Ferenc Szaniszlo, an individual who has publicly engaged in hate speech, is deeply disappointing," according to the American ambassador to Hungary, Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis. The minister who presented the award has asked for its return.

Joining a number of Hungarian intellectuals as well as the Israeli Ambassador to Hungary who expressed their concerns following the handing over the Táncsics Award to journalist Ferenc Szaniszló, the american ambassador to Hungary also issued a statement of protest.

"Honoring those who espouse intolerance, along with the government’s failure to decisively condemn racist remarks by a founding member of its own political party, casts a shadow over positive steps the government has taken to combat racism and hate speech.  It is highly regrettable that according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Human Resources, the government has not yet found a way to revoke this troubling award," the statement says.

As a follow-up development, the Minister of Human Resources, Zoltán Balog - pointing out that he has no legal means to revoke the award - sent a letter to Ferenc Szaniszló and asked him to return the prize that the minsiter says was awarded to Szaniszló "by mistake".


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