Viktor Orbán’s government has launched a media campaign against a European Parliament resolution that raised concerns about systemic rule of law problems in Hungary, government-controlled media outlets reported Wednesday.
The first video created as part of the campaign and posted on the government’s Facebook page claims that “the European Parliament’s pro-migration majority wants to silence us, because we defend our homeland and Europe with a fence.” The clip — which includes a call on Hungarians to “defend Hungary!” — features photoshopped images of Green Dutch member of the European Parliament Judith Sargentini, who led the probe into Hungary’s rule of law, together with Hungarian-American businessman George Soros and liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt.
The campaign comes in response to the Parliament’s approval last week of a resolution calling on the European Council to pursue sanctions against the Hungarian government over what MEPs deemed to be systemic problems with judicial independence, media freedom and the rights of refugees and minorities.
The Hungarian government said earlier this week it would challenge the decision in Europe’s highest court, claiming the vote was not valid because it did not take into account abstentions. A spokesperson for the European Court of Justice said Wednesday it had not yet received an official complaint from the Hungarian government.
The Council also reviewed the legality of the Parliament vote following the Hungarian complaint and concluded “that it is not competent to review the procedure of another institution,” a spokesperson for the Austrian presidency told POLITICO.
The state-funded media push will also include advertising spots in radio and television outlets, as well as online media, according to reports.
Hungary’s leadership has over the past years spent millions of taxpayer euros on advertising campaigns attacking Brussels and Soros. Critics have argued that the campaigns are a means of political campaigning using government money, while also pumping funds into government-friendly outlets.