Part 1: The Guardian Gets It Wrong on PM Orbán and the Death Penalty

The Guardian published a story today under the sensational headline, “Hungary PM: bring back death penalty and build work camps for immigrants,” claiming that the “rightwing nationalist” prime minister “threatens to defy EU law” and “equates migrants with terrorists.”

That’s quite a story. Except, that’s not what he said. Not only does the article contain serious inaccuracies, but it seems to deliberately distort what the prime minister actually did say.

The context here is that a few days ago, a young woman was murdered in Hungary. The 21 year-old was stabbed to death in a shop in a town in central Hungary. The senseless brutality of the killing shocked the nation.

In the wake of violent crimes like this, especially those that claim the lives of innocent victims, people often ask whether the laws do enough to deter and whether the punishment fits the crime. That’s what the prime minister was doing when, responding to a reporter’s question, he said that, in the face of a murder like this it seems that the current laws are not a sufficient deterrent and that, “in my view, the question of the death penalty should be kept on the agenda.”

The question of keeping it on the agenda here is not an expression of political intention but clearly an expression of a certain voter sentiment following an awful crime. The prime minister was speaking to a question that Hungarian citizens are discussing. Meanwhile, the government respects the laws that are in effect, our own as well as those to which we are committed through international agreements.

This is not the first time that The Guardian has run inaccurate reports on Hungary, conjuring up extreme charges against the government. We saw it before in their reporting on Hungary’s public works program and the events a few years ago in Gyöngyöspata. It seems that the Guardian could do with a little more diligence in fact-checking and respect for journalistic integrity.

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