Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s right-wing government is crushing artistic freedom in Hungary, according to renowned orchestral conductor Ádám Fischer and other leading figures of Central European cultural life.
The art of politics
“It is practically written into the new Hungarian Constitution that works reflecting a Christian-nationalist ideology will be given priority when state subsidies are disbursed,” the signatories wrote this week in a swingeing critique of the Fidesz government’s cultural policy.
Past controversial cultural decisions include the awarding of antisemitic writer Ferenc Szaniszló with the Tancsics Prize – the top state award for journalism – which he later returned due to strong domestic and foreign pressure, and the replacing of the National Theatre’s respected director Róbert Alföldi, despite popular protest, with Attila Vidnyánszky, a more nationalist director corresponding better with Fidesz’s state ideology. At the end of 2010 Fischer himself resigned as music director of the Hungarian State Opera in protest against the controversial media law.