Journalist Lili Bayer Verbally Attacked by Government Spokesperson

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Year 03 Oct 2017 Country Hungary Category C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists Source of threat State Partner EFJ/IFJ , Index Alert level Level 2
03 Oct 2017 Hungary C. Harassment and intimidation of journalists State EFJ/IFJ , Index Level 2
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On 28 September 2017, Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács verbally attacked Politico correspondent in Hungary Lili Bayer. Kovács first insinuated in a Twitter post that Bayer is on drugs. He further elaborated by claiming on the same day, in an interview with ATV private channel, that “calling someone an antisemite or a Nazi is a strong drug, and the lady really struggles to get off it […] She is a drug addict of calling people antisemites and Nazis.” He was replying to Bayer's tweet drawing a parallel between the 1920's first Hungarian anti-Jewish measures and the state-funded campaign against American billionaire of Hungarian origin George Soros. He went on by saying that Lili Bayer is not a journalist but a political activist serving Soros' interests: “I already spoke about this with the editor-in-chief of Politico, which is one of the papers where the lady works, I already put this forward, if I remember correctly, sometime at the beginning of the year, and one thing is for sure, that political activists should not hide behind a journalist badge. And what’s also for sure is that Lili Bayer from now on, for us, I think, is not a journalist.” He added that he will no longer work with her. This statement follows on from the publication of a list of eight journalists described as "propagandists" on the Hungarian internet portal . Lili Bayer was one of the journalists publicly accused of serving the interests of George Soros. Government spokesperson Kovács also criticized Bayer by name in March and July blog posts, while pro-government media outlets attacked her by name in eleven articles since February 2017.

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