Top writer claims censorship by public radio

Hungarian writer Peter Esterházy has claimed that public radio station Kossuth Radio censored his monthly arts review to exclude comments encouraging listeners to attend the final productions by National Theater director Róbert Alföldi. The director’s provocative presentations, which have earned him international acclaim, have riled conservatives in Hungary’s center-right Fidesz party since his appointment to head the National Theater in 2005.  His contract was not renewed by the government and he will step down in July.

Although Esterházy was asked by Kossuth Radio to recommend cultural programs, his recommendation to attend Róbert Alföldi’s final productions was edited from the radio program. The Media Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA), which oversees Hungary’s public service media, apologized to Esterházy but denied that the omission amounted to censorship. “Esterházy’s recommendation on the National Theater did not concern concrete events,” the MTVA said in a Jan. 3 statement released on state news service MTI. “For this reason, [the editor] regarded it as incompatible with the show’s structure.”

MTVA also stressed that the program was produced by an outside company and not by state radio itself.