This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of June, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 8 June 2019
Media outlets: public service media Hirado
Headline: “Brussels still distributes tens of thousands of migrant cards”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: The public service media website Hirado reported on a government press conference and uncritically presented the information provided by Zsigmond Pál Barna, MP for Fidesz party. Zsigmond Pál Barna reportedly said that Brussels still hands out tens of thousands of migrant cards (70,000 this year with a total of 2 million in the past few years) for a total of 500 billion forints (EUR 1.55 bn). The article also said that the “migrant cards” were paid for with European taxpayers money and that this system is not subject to any control. Zsigmond Pál Barna was quoted saying: “Who knows to whom these cards are distributed, they are all anonymous” and that, considering the leader of ISIS also received this “migrant card”, it’s very likely numerous migrants will be able to pay human traffickers with that money. The article also reported Barna saying that Fidesz-KDNP will do anything to stop Brussels implementing this harmful and dangerous programme
Myth Debunked: The Hungarian government uses different channels (press conferences, press statements, propaganda media, etc.) to spread disinformation that, with the exception of a small number of independent media outlets, mostly go unchallenged. Hirado is a media outlet owned and operated by the government to serve its own interests as it manufactures and spreads pro-Fidesz and anti-EU propaganda. This article parrots the Fidesz MP’s anti-refugee and anti-Muslim claims without any fact-checking and without providing accurate information that could expose the falsehoods. The EU and UNCHR implement several humanitarian programmes (the Emergency Social Safety Net, Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation) that provide assistance in cash to vulnerable people fleeing persecution and seeking asylum. Debit cards are meant to speed up the distribution of the monthly subsistence allowances to meet basic needs, such as food, medicines, or paying rent. The Hungarian government regards these cash assistance programmes as a “scandal”, as proof that the EU is actively encouraging the arrival of migrants. By saying that the “migrant cards” are distributed to anyone, including Muslim terrorists, the government and Hirado are set on instilling fear in Hungarian readers by associating migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and Islam, with criminality and poverty.
More to read: