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No thanks: some European newspapers reject political advertisements from Hungary’s Orban. away

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to the media upon his arrival on the first day of the EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, June 24, 2021. John Thys / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

BUDAPEST, July 1 (Reuters) – Several leading European newspapers have refused to run a paid ad signed by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The one-sided ad says that Brussels is building a “superstate”, denounces what it calls the “European empire”, calls for national parliaments to be strengthened and opposes greater European integration.

“The European Parliament has proven to be a dead end: it only represents its own ideological and institutional interests. The role of national parliaments must be strengthened,” the ad said.

In response, Herman Grech, editor-in-chief of the Times of Malta, which did not run the ad, wrote Thursday that Orbán’s government had declared war on Hungary’s free press. We will not stand idly by as he uses this elsewhere. “

Orban, a euro skeptic facing a highly competitive election next spring, came under fire last week at the EU leaders’ summit on Hungary’s new anti-LGBT law. The Hungarian government says the law’s goal is to protect children, but critics say it stigmatizes members of the LGBT community. Continue reading

The conflict is the latest in a series of clashes between Orban and the bloc, ranging from its treatment of refugees to pressure on academics, judges and the media.

The Belgian newspaper De Standaard also rejected the ad and instead published its own full-page ad in rainbow colors, symbolizing the rights of LGBT people, with the text “Dear Viktor Orban, Laws should never distinguish love from love”.

The newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Karel Verhoeven, called the anti-LGBT law “a blatant violation of human rights”.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter followed suit and instead asked for an interview with Orban, wrote editor-in-chief Peter Wolodarski on Twitter.

Two other newspapers in Belgium, La Libre Belgique and De Morgen, also refused to print the ad.

It was printed by the newspapers Le Figaro in France, ABC in Spain, Jyllands-Posten in Denmark and Mlada fronta Dnes in the Czech Republic.

The Hungarian government did not respond to questions from Reuters about how many news outlets they contacted and how many agreed to print the ad. “The ad is a way for us to say clearly and simply what we think is right for the future of the EU,” a Hungarian government spokesman told Reuters.

Reporting by Anita Komuves, Editing by William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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