After its entrance in the European Union in 2004, Hungary has been able to raise from a crippling post-war instability, growing especially in the tourism sector, and it now has (almost) nothing to envy to other countries in our continent.

However, the Magyar population is currently undergoing a phase that everyone hoped they would never have to face: the semi-dictatorship originated from Orban’s so-called omnipotence law.

The Hungarian Prime Minister has in fact made a drastic choice, assuming in his hands total power “in order to defeat Covid-19”, promoting this as the best possible solution and accusing the opposition parties, that obviously didn’t support the bill, of fostering the infection.

These claims leave us at the very least perplexed, especially when we read that Orban refuses to work with the Parliament and to accept the only condition proposed by the opposition, that consisted in limiting to 90 days his otherwise indefinite power.

Added to this is the strong control the government currently has over the press: news will only be broadcasted from the official sites of the State, not without prior approval of the president, and those who “diffuse fake news” will have to serve a period of time in jail.

This new bill doesn’t actually permit the publication of all the accurate information. A filter is being applied: what is broadcasted must preserve the integrity of the government. This means that every news that goes against the government or Orban’s conception of it can easily be labelled as fake and thus censored.

Many citizens, Hungarian and not, reacted with scepticism and confusion to the new political asset of the country, as Hungary has already seen the succession of two totalitarian regimes (with nazi-fascism first and later communism), and also a revolution that resulted in a liberal reorganization of the State, to which Orban himself participated.

Ursula von der Leyen for the European Union has never dwelled on the subject, if not vaguely supporting the measures as long as these remain democratic.

But Hungary now has a government that somehow restricts press freedom, that can decide to hold or not to hold elections and to dissolve the Parliament. Moreover, this drift is taking place in a context of global pandemic. Can this really be considered democratic?

I’m not the one who has to give an answer to this question, but I’m sure many could misunderstand or even ignore the question in favour of some ideology. No, I wont name names because the belief that this sort of government is effective (in tackling the plague) is actually more common than we may think.

Importing to Italy a form of government similar to the Hungarian one is not admissible, and even if it was it would surely present more negative than positive aspects, also on a more intimate and “private” level, for example on social media. People wouldn’t be free to share shocking news about vaccines that were discovered in a day or about poisoned bats (that are obviously nothing more than true fake news). They could not post and neither spend weekends out of town, and much, much more.

Maybe the excessive freedom we have in Italy (or that we are illegally taking) should not be despised like so. Maybe we are not realising how lucky we are.

When we state we want more rules and that these should be stricter, are we sure we want them for everyone?

Probably not, and even if it’s easier we should stop pronouncing ourselves on other’s freedom if we want to preserve our own first.

Bianca De Crecchio

Translated by Francesca Biglia