Accessibility links

Breaking News

Testimonials From Leaders of Democratic Hungary on the Historical Contribution of the RFE/RL Hungarian Service

In this June 16, 1989, black and white picture, one of the leaders of the oppositional Young Democrats' Alliance, Fidesz, Viktor Orban, speaks on behalf of the Hungarian youth during the ceremonial reburial of Prime Minister of the 1956 revolution Imre Nagy.

RFE/RL obtained copies of testimonials from leaders of democratic Hungary on the historical contribution of the RFE/RL Hungarian Service. Read the testimonials by Viktor Orban, former Leader of the Parliamentary faction of the League of Young Democrats (FIDESZ) and current Prime Minister of Hungary since 2010, and former Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsek Antall.

Testimonial: Viktor Orban, Leader of the Parliamentary faction of the League of Young Democrats (FIDESZ), March 14, 1991

Translation – 14 March 1991

A Letter to The Washington Legislators –

(I), the undersigned, leader of the Parliamentary faction of the League of Young Democrats (FIDESZ), have learned with consternation of the intention to reduce even further the Hungarian-language broadcasts of Radio Free Europe.

It is not only in the past that Radio Free Europe, which has even been proposed for the Nobel Prize, has rendered a significant service to the Hungarian people and to all those who played a prominent role in the course of the peaceful change of regime in Hungary, but, in my opinion, it continues to be indispensable today and in the future as well on the palette of free Hungarian telecommunication.

Testimonial by Viktor Orban, March 14, 1991.
Testimonial by Viktor Orban, March 14, 1991.

Within a few months the Hungarian legislature is going to discuss the new media law, following the passing of which the frequency moratorium will be lifted. There is no doubt in my mind that Radio Free Europe, broadcasting over medium wave which it will then be able to lease, i.e., ( able to broadcast) in technically good quality, could continue, with the experience it has gathered in the Western democracies, to give significant support to the process, still lying before us, of changing to a market economy and of further strengthening the democratic institutional order.

Budapest, 12 March 1991

(signed) Viktor Orbán

Testimonial: Prime Minister Jozef Antall, June 15, 1990

Translated text of a letter from Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall to RFE, June 15, 1990:

"As the new Prime Minister of Hungary, I take this opportunity to express the heartfelt gratitude of the nation to Radio Free Europe for its almost 40 years of activity.

Radio Free Europe has rendered a great service to us: It has given us the gift of truth about our own country and the world at large, and has done so at a time when telling the truth was counted as a crime against the state.

Your programs in the coming years can still help the strengthening of democracy in Hungary in many ways. Although our press is now freed from censorship, it still must learn how to live with this freedom. Radio Free Europe can provide a standard for quality and balance, in healthy competition with our own journalists.

Testimonial by Prime Minister Jozef Antall, June 15, 1990.
Testimonial by Prime Minister Jozef Antall, June 15, 1990.

I am emphasizing this for a special reason, because we are informed that Radio Free Europe's programs may be discontinued in a couple of years. My personal opinion is that this would be a great mistake.

Radio Free Europe could provide us useful information on democratic institutions and democratic practice, both in Western Europe and the United States. And you could help explain Hungary's development to Hungary's neighbors."

[Signed, J. Antall]