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Kovács, Zoltán

Chefredakteur der liberalintellektuellen Wochenzeitung Élet és Irodalom

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5 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 10/09/2010

Fidesz takes aim at the homeless

Sándor Pintér, the Interior Minister of Hungary's right-wing conservative government, has declared war on the country's homeless and wants to ban them from public places. The liberal weekly élet és Irodalom is up in arms: "No government has treated the homeless so mercilessly. Nevertheless it is clear: If the police chase a homeless person away from one subway station he'll just move on to the next. Inevitably he'll be chased away from there too, and because he's got no roof over his head (let's not forget he's homeless), he'll end up being chased away wherever he turns up. As everyone knows, the homes for the homeless are overcrowded. And so after being chased away wherever he goes and being burdened with fines on top of everything else - which he won't be able to pay of course - this homeless person will finally end up in prison. But the prisons are overcrowded as well, because this government's top priority is putting wrongdoers in jail. ... Whatever happens, the homeless must be put behind bars. ... Of course such a policy will make it completely impossible for them to be re-integrated into society."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 13/11/2009

Swine flu discussion reaches all-time intellectual low

Hungary is divided. While half of its population wants to be vaccinated against swine flu the other half rejects the vaccination. Zoltán Kovács comments in the liberal weekly Élet és Irodalom: "Not so long ago a politician belonging to the right-wing conservative opposition remarked on radio that he wasn't going to be vaccinated because the government had dealt incompetently with the swine flu threat, making the population uneasy. Another right-wing politician also spoke out vehemently in public against the vaccination. Right-wing MPs aren't being vaccinated. On the other hand left-wing politicians - and this won't come as a surprise - are being vaccinated. According to the data the population is likewise divided on this issue according to political preference. … The country has reached an intellectual nadir. … The people are confused."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 15/09/2008

A call for expert government

Zoltán Kovács, editor in chief of Élet és Irodalom, reflects on the inadequacies of political programmes in Hungary. Bucking the trend, he advocates a government of experts: "Flying in the face of his putatively well-meant intentions, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has been writing nothing but survival programmes for the past year. His most recent programme is a case in point. ... It always runs ... along the same lines. The prime minister consults no one but his own advisors, puts in an appearance from time to time at some institute, asylum or home, then makes ardent televised speeches in the evening. Without wanting to sound offensive, this situation is strikingly reminiscent of the times when socialism actually existed . ... What the country needs now is a new voice and renewed force. But what it needs most of all is a government with expert knowledge. It is the responsibility of the major parties, the Socialists and the conservative Young Democrats, to establish a credible government of experts which enjoys international esteem."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 10/11/2006

Freedom of the press in Hungary

Zoltán Kovács, editor in chief of the weekly, criticises entrepreneur Gábor Széles, who holds the majority stake in the daily 'Magyar Hírlap'. Széles recently fired all the newspaper's chief editors and leading journalists in a bid to change the newspaper's political orientation. According to Kovács, the economy and political parties are gaining too much influence over the Hungarian press: "Here in Hungary the owner of a newspaper can do whatever he pleases with it. A newspaper's tradition or the image it has cultivated over the decades are irrelevant to its owners." Kovács points to American newspapers as an example of how things should be. "'The New York Times' is highly respected internationally. Among other things, this is thanks to the efforts of its owners... The Sulzbergers – and most journalists and owners of leading American newspapers – believe in social responsibility. They believe that newspapers should tell the truth and adhere to moral values, and that their goals and interests should not be in conflict with those of society."

Élet és Irodalom - Hungary | 21/07/2006

The right to criticise court decisions

Zoltan Lomnici, chief justice of Hungary's Supreme Court, has called for a new law that would ban criticism of court decisions in daily and weekly newspapers and allow such criticism only in professional journals. Zoltan Kovacs, editor in chief of the weekly Elet es Irodalom, defends the right of the press to express its views on everything. "Since the fall of communism, many hopes have not been fulfilled, but keeping the general public informed remains important, despite certain side effects. It has a positive impact on structures that remained closed for 50 years. It prevents state authorities from cutting themselves off and escaping social control... Zoltan Lomnici thinks this control doesn't work and should therefore be restricted. It would be more convenient for him to have discussion of his decisions limited to professional journals, because they have fewer readers. It's tough having to deal with the criticism of the press."

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