In recent years I have become increasingly despondent and alarmed at developments in Hungary, the latest of which were outlined by András Schiff (A shrine to our Nazi past, 12 December). From 1991 to 2000 I lived and worked in Hungary, teaching film and media studies at most of the major Hungarian universities. On returning to the UK, I organised and/or participated in many events celebrating and promoting the film culture of Hungary. I also wrote a number of articles and one book on the topic of Hungarian film (with another to be published soon).
In November 2009 the Hungarian government of the day awarded me the Pro Cultura Hungarica medal for my services to Hungarian culture and the arts. The presentation of this award, at the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London, in the presence of a government representative, the Hungarian ambassador and the Hungarian representative for Unesco remains a vivid and proud memory. However, in protest at the increasingly reactionary and retrograde developments in Hungary, in particular the policies of the present government led by Viktor Orbán, I am returning my medal. I urge other recipients of this award, in the UK and elsewhere, to consider doing likewise.