The Roma, The Jesuits, The Far Right and Public Money
April 2, 2012
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Balog Zoltán, state secretary for social inclusion and former Calvinist pastor, gave two million forints to the Jesuit Roma School for a course on public relations. The twenty young Roma graduates selected for the course were a bit surprised to learn that the module on media was to be held by members of Echo TV, which is known for its good relations with the far right party Jobbik, which is known for its proximity to the Magyar Gárda, which is known for intimidating Roma in Gyöngyöspata and other villages.
Two of the young graduates chose to speak up, but as soon as they questioned the credibility of a far right tv station teaching Roma on how to work with the media, they were expelled from the course. One of them, Mr József Márton found it strange that when they examined non-verbal communication, all positive examples were from members of the government party, while all negatives represented persons from one of the opposition parties. The other, Ms Ilona Nótár turned to Mr József Hofher, the Jesuit overseeing the course–on account of their old acquaintance. What she got in answer was a short patronising letter telling her that democracy means him not interfering in the course content and informing her that her repeated criticism was destructive and her style of constant objection leading to nowhere.