Viktor Orbán’s ‘Total Offensive’ on Culture

László Győri at Eurozine:

Film and theatre are not the only cultural sectors to have come into Fidesz’s crosshairs – the offensive was indeed ‘total’. For example, shortly after Orbán assumed power, the National Cultural Fund was restructured. Originally an independent body, it was responsible for distributing subsidies across all cultural sectors. A great advantage of the cultural fund was that it was independent of government. But Orbán subordinated it to a minister and a secretary of state, who henceforth had the power to revise the decisions of the committees responsible for the various cultural sectors. In summer 2010, members of the Cultural Fund’s councils responsible for publishing were replaced with Fidesz sympathizers. The procedure appeared paradoxical. The state created a fund which was charged not only with distributing money, but also with ensuring that decisions be made by qualified representatives. However, the government then intervened to ensure that these qualified, elected experts could not make democratic decisions about the money.

more here.