Hungary Reporter Returns Award After Israel, U.S. Protest

Hungarian television journalist Ferenc Szaniszlo, whose program has been fined for its racist statements, returned a state award after protests, including from Israel and the U.S.

Szaniszlo, speaking on his program on Echo TV yesterday, said the outcry was triggered by “untrue” allegations and offered the award he received last week as “war booty” to the U.S. and Israel.

Szaniszlo’s “anti-Hungarian conspiracies” incited hatred against minorities, according to a 2010 media regulator ruling. Hungary is suffering from “gypsy terror” and has been torn into “three parts” -- Hungarian, Jewish and gypsy -- and that “at the end someone will have to leave,” Szaniszlo said in a Feb. 11, 2011 program.

Hungarian Human Resources Minister Zoltan Balog asked Szaniszlo to return the Tancsics prize he awarded the journalist last week, saying he had made a “bad decision” and hadn’t been aware of the reporter’s views.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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