A new chapter in the billboard war
Several new unmarked posters appeared on the billboards related to Lajos Simicska’s company on Monday, according to HVG.hu. These are the same interfaces where the mysterious “A nép nem betiltható, de a kormány leváltható” (“The people cannot be prohibited, but the government can be changed”) messages had been earlier. The new advertisements popularize Jobbik’s wage union initiation. The opposition party claimed that they have nothing to do with this new mocking of the billboard act. However, it does not mean they condemn it.
Three weeks have passed since the appearance of the unmarked advertisements that served as protests against the billboard act. On Monday, a new series of such posters were published. While the former wave was only suspicious of being related to Jobbik, the current one concerning the wage union obviously has something to do with the right-wing opposition, since it was them who came up with the idea last year. The wage union initiation seems to be the trump card of Jobbik in the election campaign of 2018. President of Jobbik, Gábor Vona, announced last week that the collection of signatures connected to the idea will begin on 20th August.
However, Jobbik denies that they have anything to do with the new posters, just as they did last time. Party director Gábor Szabó stated that Jobbik ceased to have any connections to Mahír since the billboard act’s entry into force on 15th July. He also added that they “still rejoice upon the advertisements’ appearance”.
He also claimed that wage union is not a party issue but a civilian initiation. The procedure of European election can be initiated by the cooperation of the citizens of at least seven different states: this is how Jobbik began the process in Hungary with the support of Croatian, Bulgarian, Slovakian, Latvian, Estonian, Romanian and Polish citizens. The submission was approved by the European Committee in spring. The supporters of equal wages for the same jobs in the EU must gather one million signatures until June 2018 in order to make it an issue in the committee.
Just like last time, it is suspicious that Lajos Simicska — who openly sympathizes with Jobbik — or his advertising company might be the customer of the posters. It is interesting to note that the company was constantly under the surveillance of the National Tax and Customs Administration during Jobbik’s campaign. Mahír advisor Anett Puskár told HVG.hu that “this social advertisement was published due to the order of an individual”, and that the customer was neither Jobbik nor Simicska.
The billboard act was approved by the Parliament in June, cutting Jobbik’s anti-government campaign short. But maybe even the representatives of Fidesz-KDNP did not realize how easily this act can be evaded. The rule limits the advertising capacity of organizations operating on public finances, but this can be cheated by using a company or an individual as a mediator. The unmarked advertisements cannot even be considered political messages, as they do not call for the support of certain organizations of representatives.
We can be sure that the government will eventually find a way to counter these anonymous messages, but the current law does not provide them any means for that.