Budapest, July 8 (MTI) – The government has decided to launch an information campaign to make clear that Hungarian reforms are working well and that Hungary has benefitted from having chosen its own path and rejecting austerity measures proposed by international organisations in 2010, the government spokesman said on Wednesday.
The aim of the campaign, starting in the next few days and lasting until the end of September, is to highlight family and tax policy reforms, among others, using billboards, the media and the internet, Zoltan Kovacs told a press conference.
A sum of 600 million forints (EUR 1.9m) is available for the campaign, he added.
Kovacs said it was clear from the past few years that the path chosen by Hungary was paying dividends. He underlined the fact that the Hungarian economy has grown by more than 10 percent since 2010, which, he said, in itself gives grounds for optimism.
He dismissed the suggestion that the information campaign is in response to a recent billboard campaign critical of the government’s migration policies.
Concerning the Sunday shopping ban, he said that if there is indeed a loophole, the law may be tightened up.
Zoltan Gogos, deputy leader of the Socialist Party, said the government should be spending on the people not on billboards. If people were living well there would be no need for information campaigns, because they would feel this themselves, Gogos told MTI.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party also said the campaign was “senseless spending” and suggested the government may be paying off “oligarchs” with the money. Government propaganda will once again fill ad space obtained through corruption, Jobbik said in a statement.
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) suggested that the government could consider slogans on poverty and on the closure of shops on Sundays as alternative messages in its campaign. Another possibility is “we protect brokerages” or messages about tobacco shops and private pensions, DK said in a statement.
Egyutt called on the government to withdraw its plans for another “expensive and false campaign” and to instead concern itself with problems that really matter to Hungarians.
The opposition LMP party called for legislation to “ban propaganda” in response to the government’s information campaign plans. Andras Schiffer, the party’s co-leader, said LMP would reduce the government’s annual communication budget from the current 3 billion forints to 200 million and launch information campaigns only on “subjects concerning citizens’ rights and responsibilities” like the launch of new public administration options.