szerző:
hvg.hu

Horror stories and urban legends, spread by text message and e-mail, have become a feature of modern political campaigns.

A trawl through the Open Society Archive's collection from this year's election yields plenty of examples. "Huge story tomorrow in the Nemzet. Ibolya's being blackmailed. Her son has been arrested in Australia for drugs dealing. The government's brought him home, he's here, and they're covering it up." Another reads: "Ibolya David's husband won a HUF1bn contract from the Socialists. Her children's foreign scholarships are paid for by Tom Lantos, and Soros is paying for the MDF's campaign."

These kinds of messages, designed to influence voters, are regarded by specialists as urban legends. The journalists Ivan Marinov, Andras Dezso, and Attila Pal have collected several such urban legends and have written about them in a new book, Legend Hunting, published by HVG Press. They describe these text message and e-mail urban legends as "stories that are seemingly credible, often based on a degree of truth, but which really stem from the public's collective imagination."

One of the first such urban legends in Hungarian political folkore referred to the so-called Rozsadomb pact. The story first appeared in the 1994 campaign, and it has since spread before every election. In Legend Hunting, the authors report the latest version of the story. It runs: "In a Buda villa in 1989, the general of the departing Soviet army, a KGB colonel, a CIA officer, a Mossad agent, delegates from the Hungarian Catholic Church and the Hungarian Jewish Community and five leading Hungarian politicians met. In the name of the Hungarian people, they wrote a document that placed restrictions on the rebuilding of a free Hungary. It was agreed that the Soviet occupiers would depart, but they would need to pay a high price, placing restrictions on the right wing and by offering immunity to prominent figures in the Socialist regime. The pact was signed by Jozsef Antall, Peter Boross, Arpad Goncz, Gyula Horn, Laszlo Paskai, Ivan Peto and Gusztav Zoltai, head of the Jewish Community Association." All concerned have naturally dismissed any suggestion of such an agreement ever having been reached.

In a 2002 study, the sociologists Miklos Sukosd and Endre Danyi wrote that that e-mail and text messages are good conduits for this kind of story, since they have taken part of the role of live speech. Short text messages may be dry, but the message is still clear. "When you wrote, make sure there is a stamp on the ballot paper. If there isn't, ask for one, because without it your vote isn't valid. Pass it on!"

This call for vigilance first spread from mobile to mobile over the days before the second round of the 2002 elections. Another chain text from the same period read: "Before he appears on stage, Medgessy gets a brain-boosting injection. Medical students take the same thing before their exams. And he's going to represent Hungary."

Once such a chain letter arrives, there is no limit to the extent that it can be touched up. Curiously, in Hungary, Socialist messages pass mainly by e-mail, while Fidesz messages are mostly sent by text. In 2002, the wires hummed with messages justifying the Bokros economic reform package, as well as a horror story. In the horror story, an 80-year-old woman asked journalists to write about her story. "My son's family no longer visit me. They have stopped me seeing my two grandchildren, because I voted for the Socialists." The writer adds: "I am speechless. I take her hand, which is thin and soft, just like my grandmother's." The woman asks if it will pass. "Yes," the writer responds.

HVG English version

For the Hungarian speaking region

Duna Television is spending almost HUF500bn on its new station, Autonomia TV, though very few of the Hungarians in neighbouring countries who constitute its target audience will be able to receive it.

HVG English version

Capital reconstruction

In 1982, I wrote an article commemorating the 75th anniversary of Frigyes Podmaniczky's death, in which I bemoaned the absence of an old-style Metropolitan Works Council (FKT). The article was picked up upon by the leaders of the Metropolitan Council. Three years later, Laszlo Siklossy's outstanding work "How Budapest was built" about the FKT's first sixty years, was reissued. The publisher asked me to write an afterword. When I submitted it, the publisher said: "This is no afterword! This is a manifesto!" I explained this was all I could offer. The book appeared several months later, without my afterword.

hvg.hu English version

Expurgated catastrophe communication

Moral regime change cannot be completed until all the Chernobil files have been released. Unfortunately, many of the people referred to in them are still with us. The files should be opened up: Hungarians have the right to know who was responsible for the way in which the world's worst ever nuclear catastrophe was dealt with here in Hungary.

HVG English version

Interview with Balazs Babel

"A Christian who does not vote is a sinner," claims Balazs Babel, Archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskement. The 56-year-old priest, who does not deny his party bias, believes a good Catholic is a right-wing voter, and only someone who suffers from "an inconquerable ignorance" votes for the Left. Babel also defends the the antisemitic Bishop Ottokar Prohaszka.

HVG English version

Slight advantage for the left

"We have to reach a deal with the MDF at all costs," Viktor Orban was told by several local party leaders, the HVG has learned. Even Viktor Orban himself cannot be allowed to get in the way. The first round of the elections brought the Socialist party and its coalition party a slight advantage.

hvg.hu English version

What about the next months?

The next few months in Hungarian politics are going to be very interesting. If the coalition wins, then it will have to dig the country out of the hole it spent the last four years leading the country into. If Fidesz loses, the party will face structural and personnel changes. If Ibolya David sticks to her current possition, adopting the role of a constructive opposition, then she will be in a dreadfully lonely position.

Babos nem jutott túl a selejtezőn a Roland Garroson

Babos nem jutott túl a selejtezőn a Roland Garroson

Brüsszel szerint semmin nem változtat Theresa May lemondása

Brüsszel szerint semmin nem változtat Theresa May lemondása

EPP-kampányzáró: Merkel élesen bírálta a nacionalista politikusokat

EPP-kampányzáró: Merkel élesen bírálta a nacionalista politikusokat

A Kika magyar üzleteit is eladták

A Kika magyar üzleteit is eladták

Nem érdekli a fontot May lemondása

Nem érdekli a fontot May lemondása

Európa legjobbjai között a budapesti állatkert

Európa legjobbjai között a budapesti állatkert