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Award Given to Writer Fined for Racism Sparks Furor in Hungary

  • Journalist has been censured for remarks against Roma, Jews
  • More than 50 recipients of same honor return their awards
Viktor Orban.

Viktor Orban.

Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

More than 50 laureates of one of Hungary’s highest honors have returned their awards after Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government decorated a journalist who’s been repeatedly censured for inciting hatred against refugees, Jews and the Roma.

Zsolt Bayer, a founding member of the ruling Fidesz party and a close ally of Orban, received the Order of Merit of the Knight’s Cross on the weekend for his “exemplary journalistic work,” according to the official gazette Magyar Kozlony. The recipients who returned their awards included academics, writers and actors, according to a list compiled by news website 444.hu.