News and current affairs

Anyone here away of the “fools” whom been blocking Ottawa for almost a week now? And the mix of police (from provincial capital, GTA-including my region, the Western Provincial police, and my provincial police) are doing NOTHING about them? Yet they bring out the riot gear/riot unit for the other minorities peaceful protesters. Heck these mixed cop brought out the riot gear for G20, over 10 years ago in (city) and were brutual to the peaceful protesters. What happened to the Kettling which was used back in G20?

I think either a)there’s some off-duty police and miltary members with these “fools” protestors or b)the police side with the fools

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I was at work at the time. Ah well.

News about news:
Bloomberg mistakenly published a headline “Russia Invades Ukraine”.
They apologized.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-02-04/statement-on-publishing-error

Out of interest who does everyone use for their main news sources? For me it’s mainly Reuters.

BBC (radio and online), and in depth analysis from the various TLDR news channels.

I check SVT (Swedish), Tagesschau (German) and BBC daily. Both SVT and the Tagesschau are, just like BBC I think, financed from “taxes” and are supposedly unbiased and serious

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Speaking of sources funded through taxation, what are your thoughts on the issue?

The BBC TV Licence fee has been frozen for two years. BBC is pleading poverty and threatening cuts to services. There is also the issue of reneging on the deal to fund Licences for the over-75s.

Personally I believe in paying for what you use. I therefore don’t subscribe to the BBC (read don’t have a Licence) and have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly. I also therefore get a monthly snotty letter from them threatening pay up or we’ll send the boys round!

The BBC is an incredible institution, and needs to be protected. When you see newspapers and other media channels attacking it, have a look at who owns those businesses. Invariably it is someone who owns their own channels and wants to remove the competition.

The way the BBC is funded means it isn’t beholden to stockholders and can do more niche programming. Sure, viewer ratings is a factor, but it can take more risks with the programmes it commissions.

I would much rather have hundreds of niche programmes and only a few appeal to me, but those few challenge my way of thinking, than hundreds of cloned high-ratings shows that are just junk food for the brain.

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I’m sure that there are good things that the BBC does. I just believe that there is far too much wastage and that the organisation should be split and slimmed down into an Entertainment side (funded privately) and a News and Educational side (funded through subsidisation from the Entertainment profits and a token amount of taxation).

Also, why does a TV company (obstensively not state run) get to send me threatograms? Tesco doesn’t come round to my house and demand I pay them, even if I only order online from Asda.

The danger with the money coming directly from the government is that they can hold back money if they don’t like what’s being broadcast.

With the licence fee, that money is set by the government, but collected by ghe BBC.

The current government is doing far too much cracking down on things it doesn’t like, as can be seen in the policing bill. The right to protest and the right to hold the incumbents to account are fundamental rights in a decent democracy; this government is doing whatever it can to stop that.

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Enforcement is carried out by Capita (on behalf of the BBC) and is paid into the Government’s Consolidated Fund before being paid back to the BBC. Personally there’s nothing to stop them withholding funds at this stage.

The TV Licence issue may be worth a thread on its own.

tl:dr - On a personal level it’s a fee that’s annoying to pay, but it is of benefit of the public.

In Sweden and in Germay the fee/license was avoidable, so people of course tried to get out of paying. This led to “license hunters” knocking at your door, trying to catch people and snitch on them. An awful system. Nowadays the fee is payed by taxes (Sweden) or a general fee for every household (Germany), which is more sensible.

I think it’s important to have a neutral, unbiased (as far as possible, it is all west-washed of course) source of information. Other sources are financed from commercial or political (or both) sources and this will affect the material.

The problem with this is what could happen to those who can’t afford reliable TV etc. They are much more vulnerable to misinformation, fake news and manipulation. Like other taxes, you will pay for things you don’t personally use, need or like. That’s the price of living in a community. I’m happy to pay for the police, health care, fire wards and schools, even though I don’t need their services right now. I think the right for information fits well into this category.

Yup, this will also include pure entertainment aspects, but that’s also something people should have access to.

So yeah, it is annoying when the yearly bill for the public service plops down our letter box. In that moment I’d rather spend the money on something else, just like paying taxes sucks. Taking a mental step back to realise what it’s for helps me to be less annoyed by it

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Oops, i started answering then life came inbetween, haven’t read your disucssion yet. Sorry if I’m repeating something you already dealt with

Hah, having tax-funded unbiased media is a nice pipe dream for us here in Hungary, at least for now… ever since our current government took over 12 years ago, national channels are blatantly biased, hiding all the wrongs the government does and idolizing it – all the while, obviously, stating they are being objective and all the other outlets (that do call attention to the many, many government wrongdoings) are the ones in the wrong, being funded by enemies of the state.

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I’m sorry to hear that! But it also good to hear this, to make me realise how privileged we are here.

How was it before they took over? Are there other institutions criticising the government or are they being censored ?

Before they took over, the media was fairly unbiased.
There is no official censure, so privately funded media can criticize the government. However, on a governmental level, everything is in their hands, so there are absolutely no checks and balances in place. And most of the biggest Hungarian corporations are also affiliated with their cronies, so much so that advertisers don’t dare take commissions for other political parties, so all the political ads you ever see on posters, billboards and in bus stops are ads praising the current leaders and/or demonizing the opposition.

I could go on and on how our government lies, steals and spreads demagogue and how they openly take place in the forming far-right block of Europe, but that would be off-topic for this channel.

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Go ahead, if you want to! I don’t think it’s off-topic, you could just define it as “current affairs” :wink:

Even though Hungary isn’t that far away, it doesn’t get much media attention here. I’d be interested to hear about it!

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Sure, I will write about some of the most outrageous thing tomorrow, then (I’m off to bed now).

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I’m actually going there in July, it’s been a few years since I’ve been last, and I do try to keep up a bit, but just as Sillsallad said, there isn’t really a lot of news here.

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OK, so where to start… wall of text incoming :sweat_smile:

  • First off, while I’m talking about “government”, I might as well speak about our PM. The whole system is actually an autocracy built up by him and only his allies (more likely cronies) can stay in power. Whoever goes against him (Lajos Simicska was a notable example) will immediately become a persona non grata.
  • The government is (not so) slowly and surely becoming a neo-nationalist regime.
    • As I also pointed out in my previous post, they openly associate with representatives of the far right like Le Pen.
    • One of our most notable poets of the first half of the 20th century, Miklós Radnóti, a Jewish man who ended up dying in a concentration camp, was taken off the curriculum. Instead, prominently far right-leaning Albert Wass was put in.
  • Making Hungary a puppet for China
    • A campus for Fudan University is slated to be built in Budapest. The government was quick to assure everyone that it will not be run according to Chinese expectations, despite the University itself openly stating that yes, China will have the actual control and will manage the campus as it does the ones in China.
  • Some examples of stealing all the money
    • Any large tender will only ever be awarded to companies affiliated with members of the government or their close partners.
      • Such large tenders will cost way more money than they should. For example, while still in opposition, they blamed the previous government because building 1 KM of highway cost 1 billion forints (which, true, was an absurdly high amount), but now (actually, this was a few years ago, it might be even more now) the same cost 2 billion .
    • They introduced a mandate to fix the price of gas at, IIRC, 480 Ft/liter and to prohibit any gas station from being closed down due to running at a loss. Now, this is already an incredibly high price (it was too much when it reached 400), so the fix is not a bad thing, but instead of paying gas stations the difference, they let them go bankrupt, only to be quickly bought up by MOL, the only wholly Hungarian gas company, which is, of course, under the stewardship of a government-affiliated magnate.
    • They control civil nonprofits because allegedly, they are used to fund “enemies of the state”, thus the government can decide how they spend their money.
      • Notably, back in 2014, we had a falling out with Norway Grants (EEA Grants), with the government demanding that they decide how to spend the money allocated for us, which was obviously not acceptable.
  • They have run public healthcare and education into the ground
    • Hospitals are vastly underfunded (I know, that’s hardly unique here, sadly) and are beyond their breaking point. Taking only COVID wards as an example, one nurse is supposed to tend to at most 4 people, but they have to tend to more than 10 each, meaning many people die in COVID wards due to a lack of attention.
      • However, no media outlet aside from the national ones (which, again, only report what the government expects, kind of like the Ministry of Truth) is allowed to enter any hospital so that the general public does not get shown just how much of a depreciated state the healthcare is in.
    • As for schools, aside from, again, not paying teachers a living wage, hence making it an unattractive career choice, they actively made teaching less appealing by introducing a series of unnecessary bureaucratic processes and evaluations.
  • Touting programs that appear to be wonderful for the general population on paper but are actually useless or only serving the members of the government
    • Example: they have announced that, due to COVID, they cut business tax in half. However, the real reason behind this was to penalize cities led by members of the opposition (first among them our capitol, Budapest) as business tax goes to the municipality, not the government directly and they even refund the money under a different name to cities led by mayors affiliated with the governing party. So, in the end, only opposing cities get hit.
    • Another example is that mothers who raise at least 4 children don’t have to pay payroll tax. Now, this does sound good, but this mostly serves the very rich as mostly any mother actually raising 4 children (thus not having a nanny attend to them) will not be able to do have much a day job here.
  • Hatemongering in the name of Christianity
    • The government pretends they are upholding good, Christian values because they strongly stand up against immigrants from Arabic countries (which is a lie in itself – while they won’t allow entry to the poor immigrants arriving en masse, they are perfectly fine allowing in some rich ones who buy a substantial amount of bonds) and any LGBTQ+ movements.
    • At the same time, they blatantly steal and lie, which are very un-Christian activities. But, since they control the media, the untinking masses only see and hear about their heroic struggles against “the liberal and corrupting Western Europe”.

It’s like a mix of practices from our former, Soviet-backed government from the '70s and from the novel 1984. Seriously, I don’t know how, if ever, we’ll get rid of them, they are so entrenched…

We’ll have elections this year but it’s kind of a given they will win it again, if not by popular vote (which, sadly, they have, as they have a too large portion of the population under their spell with their hatemongering, and by letting many people living outside of Hungary /I don’t mean Hungarian expats, I mean people who have never lived a single day here but used to have Hungarian ancestors before large part of the country was cut off and given to surrounding countries in 1920/, vote), then by blatantly cheating.
During the last elections, one lady who was appointed as a supervisor to ensure no fraud happened was just about to go public with her findings about just how crooked the election was – but, sadly, she died all of a sudden… and her son let it know it was no accident.

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