#TheFutureIsYours Transversal and cross-cutting issues
Podium discussion on the Radio Free Europe
70 years ago, on October 6, 1951, Radio Free Europe began broadcasting its Hungarian-language program from Munich, which ended its operations in October 1993 in the Bavarian provincial capital. The institution established by the United States government fought communism during the Cold War by means of spiritual warfare. SZER was an important base for Western Hungarian emigration, as well as a link between them and Hungary, but most of all an alternative source of news against the communist information monopoly in Hungary. Our Consulate General organizes a podium discussion to commemorate the anniversary.
1027 Budapest, Bem rakpart 47.
Event reportOctober 6th marked the 70. anniversary of Radio Free Europe’s first Hungarian broadcast in Munich. To mark the occasion, the Consulate General of Hungary in Munich organised a panel discussion in German with the participation of Bavarian and Hungarian historians and political scientists, as well as a former staff member of the radio. The event was held in the former building of Radio Free Europe which now serves as the headquarters of the Geschwister-Scholl-Institut for Political Science at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. The event took place in the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Visegrad Group. Emphasis was placed on the role of RFE in interpreting and presenting the events in Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and Poland (1980-81). An extremely large number of Bavarian and Hungarian visitors (including representatives of the Consular Corps) were interested in this unique content. It is particularly interesting to note that many in the audience were personally involved in the operation of the radio station, either as former staff members, as children of staff members, or as former listeners. Staff members of the Hungaricum Hungarian Institute at the University of Regensburg also participated at the event - the legacy of RFE's editor Gyula Borbándi is kept there. The event was kicked off with a welcome speech by Consul General Gábor Tordai-Lejkó and Prof. Dr. Klaus H. Goetz, Dean of Faculty 15 of LMU, followed by a slide presentation by Dr. Gábor Nyári, Executive Director of RETÖRKI (Research Institute and Archive for the History of the Regime Change). This was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Nyári and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Werner Weidenfeld, a renowned political scientist, political consultant and media personality from LMU. The discussion was moderated by András Vincze, who himself worked for decades as a journalist for RFE. The fascinating discussion was accompanied by simultaneous interpretation. It was concluded that RFE, which was run by the US government from 1951 to 1993 and broadcasted in Hungarian language, provided an alternative source of news for Hungarian listeners during the Hungarian communist news monopoly, and was generally the voice of freedom - including the broadcasting of American popular music. In a broader political context, it is clear that RFE, used as a tool of psychological warfare in the Cold War, actively contributed to the dismantling of communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe and to the regime change. In his presentation, Dr. Nyári focused on the V4 dimension: the role of RFE in the radio coverage of the events of the overthrow of the communist regime in the region (the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the Prague Spring of 1968 and the events in Poland in 1980-81), the characteristics of the Hungarian, Polish and Czechoslovak editorial offices and their relations with each other. The event ended with a pleasant standing reception, during which guests were given V4 giveaways.
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