Anti-discrimination watchdog fines Romanian journalist for anti-Hungarian speech

Romania’s anti-discrimination council (CNCD) has fined B1 television network journalist Radu Banciu RON 5,000 for anti-Hungarian speech in a talk show discussing the Úz Valley military graveyard. The network had already been fined RON 20,000 for the same show aired on May 19, 2019.

The show’s topic had been the Úz Valley cemetery, just a few weeks before the illegally erected obelisk and 52 concrete crosses were forcefully inaugurated by a group of right-wing Romanian nationalists.

According to the filing submitted by the Mikó Imre Association for the Protection of Minority Rights, Banciu’s approach to this highly sensitive topic was anti-Hungarian and underpinned by false data and hence infringed upon Hungarians’ rights. During the talk show, Banciu claimed that Hungarians maintain that fallen Romanian soldiers have no place and no right to be buried in the Úz Valley graveyard or any cemetery that is located in settlements populated by Hungarians.

Banciu also alleged that Hungarians want to eliminate the Romanian flag and all Romanian symbols, the Romanian language, and the remains of the fallen Romanian soldiers. He went on to claim that Hungarians want to get rid of Romanians from the “Hungarian” counties, even going as far as getting rid of the remains of Romanians buried in cemeteries.

We don’t have to remind our readers that all the above claims are false. We have been following the Úz Valley events closely and even went to the scene right after the shameful event took place to talk with both Hungarians and Romanians. Read our detailed report about the incident at the Úz Valley military graveyard and how it happened: Part one, two, three, four and five.

From the journalist’s perspective, it doesn’t matter who is buried where; if his or her remains rest on Romanian land, then their fate will be decided in Bucharest, not Csíkszereda/Miercurea-Ciuc, Hargita/Harghita, or Kovászna/Covasna Counties. Furthermore, according to Banciu, only Bucharest has the power to decide on anything that is happening in Romania.

Banciu also falsely claimed that Hungarians hate Romanians.

After analyzing the aforementioned talk show, the anti-discrimination council found that Banciu was engaged in hate speech against the Hungarian minority peppered with xenophobic and discriminative statements, leaving the B1 network responsible for airing a hate-speech show.

Erika Benkő, director of the Mikó Imre Association, has welcomed the CNCD’s ruling and said she is positive that Radu Banciu and the B1 network will ultimately acknowledge that there is no place for personal anti-Hungarian statements in the public space.

Title image: Radu Banciu. Image source: Cancan.ro

Author: István Fekete