A long march from state socialism to illiberalism: Orbán, Soros, and the NGOs in Hungary

17 July 2017

Watch a recent talk by the Hungarian media researcher, journalist and performer Réka Kinga Papp on the evolution of an illiberal political zeitgeist in Hungary.

Photo: Fábián Évi, CC-BY-SA 3.0

It has been a long march from 1989 when Hungary was declared a democracy and the formulation of the civic sphere began, to 2010 when PM Orbán declared the illiberal programme of the ‘Regime of National Cooperation’. Since then,  repression against civil society organisations and the abolishment of universities’ autonomy has been an important part of  the political discourse in Hungary.

Réka’s plea for contemporary Hungarian society is: “Don’t keep calm. I suggest you better freak out as soon as you can … “.

Réka Kinga Papp is a Budapest-based journalist and performer, specialising in social and human rights issues, environmental matters and the history and structure of movements and social initiatives. Currently she is a Milena Jesenká journalist fellow at IWM. She is a founder of the Green Spider Media Lab that produces documentaries and campaigns on and with NGOs. She is an author of the Hungarian political weekly HVG, elaborating on social policy, workers’ rights, gender issues, media structure and cultural policy. She is an anchorperson at the radio station Klubrádió, running her show ‘Professor Paprika and the Complicated Things’, promoting social sciences in a comic tone for laicist audiences. As a media researcher she focuses on progressive movements and protagonists and their strategies, with special respect to the boundaries between radicalism and peaceful advocacy. Her major topics were the West German ‘68 movements and the RAF, the environmentalist scene and the free birth movement in Hungary lately. She is the press officer of the Association of Hungarian Sex Workers. She has worked with over fifty NGOs in Hungary and is dedicated to the #Civilizáció inititive, an assembly of Hungarian civic organisations to step up against the ongoing repression of independent initiatives.