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1 CET - 29 March 1995 (mind)  181 sor     (cikkei)
2 Washington Post (mind)  122 sor     (cikkei)

+ - CET - 29 March 1995 (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

Wednesday, 29 March 1995
Volume 2, Issue 63


  The Hungarian special envoy of the Organization for Security
  and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, has some dire warnings
  about Chechnya.  Yesterday in Budapest, Istvan Gyarmati said
  there's a growing threat that Russia's war with Chechnya will
  spill over into neighboring southern regions.  Gyarmati made
  that comment after returning from a trip to Chechnya and
  nearby Ingushetia.  He says Ingushetia and Dagestan, further
  east, are both at risk. Gyarmati adds that Russian forces have
  hit targets in both regions. Gyarmati says there's a greater
  danger of the war expanding now than during his previous trip
  to Chechnya a month and a half ago.  The OSCE is planning to
  set up a permanent six-member mission in the Chechen capital
  Grozny by mid-April, headed by a Hungarian diplomat.  Gyarmati
  says the final go-ahead on that is expected early next week.
  One of the mission's first tasks will be to create suitable
  conditions for free elections.  Gyarmati thinks they could be
  held at the same time as nationwide parliamentary elections
  due in December.  But he admits his mission to Chechnya has
  made little progress on finding a political settlement to the

  Hungarian Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti says his country's
  armed forces will have made all the changes necessary for full
  integration in NATO over the next three years.  Keleti says
  Hungary will set up a NATO-compatible system for civilian and
  military air traffic control over the next two to three years.
  According to Keleti, the Hungarian government will discuss
  plans for the system in the next couple of weeks.  Keleti
  leaves for a four-day official visit to Britain this Saturday.
  He hopes planned talks with British Defense Secretary Malcolm
  Rifkind will insure that Britain helps Hungary train its


  The IMF has given its blessing to Hungary's tough austerity
  package, introduced earlier this month.  The fund's Budapest
  representative George Kopits says the plan could lead to the
  short-term IMF standby loan Hungary is seeking.  But the IMF
  also says the program needs further reform next year so
  economic growth is ensured.  Kopits says if Hungary
  successfully implements its plan, the 18-month stand-by loan
  could be approved by the end of this year.

  The Hungarian ceramics maker Zalakeramia is planning to buy out
  its competitor Rekeramia for slightly more than $3 million.
  Shareholders for both firms approved the move at separate
  general meetings yesterday.  Zalakeramia offered Rekeramia
  shareholders the option of cash or Zalakeramia shares.  Most
  are expected to choose cash, but about 5,000 new Zalakeramia
  shares will be issued.  Zalakeramia head John Roarke says the
  merger is cheaper than an expansion.  The troubled Rekeramia
  is in receivership, the first step toward bankruptcy under
  Hungarian law.


  By David Fondler, in cooperation with Business Central Europe

  Before Austria joined the European Union this year, it was seen
  as the gateway to the east, a main trading route between
  Europe's former communist countries and the West.  Now, that
  role has been eclipsed by Germany, leaving Austria working to
  come out of the shadows. But old ties die hard.  
  Austria's relationship with Hungary, the Czech Republic and
  Slovakia was forged under Hapsburg rule, well before the world
  wars and the Cold War.  During a generation of Central
  European communism, the relationship between Vienna and its
  former empire became forged in trade, with Austria
  traditionally remaining neutral and steering clear of Western
  alliances like NATO and the European Union.  Now, the
  relationship is changing again.  Central European exporters,
  which last year saw healthy trade with Austria, are wondering
  what'll happen now that Austria has entered the EU.  Business
  Central Europe magazine editor Bela Papp says they aren't

  "Exporters from Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic have
  gotten used to the Austrian bureaucracy as it used to be.  But
  starting in 1995, that bureaucracy is changing, so much so
  that the Austrians themselves don't yet know the full rules of
  the game."

  On top of Vienna's bureaucracy, Central European countries have
  to deal with ever-changing association agreements with the
  EU.  But those agreements will eventually help them even out
  their trade imbalance with the West.  Austria currently enjoys
  nearly a $1.5 billion trade surplus with Central Europe.  But
  as Papp explains, this imbalance could actually work to the
  advantage of the Visegrad countries in trade negotiations:

  "Because they can just say, 'why are you restricting access to
  your market when you have such a huge surplus with us to begin
  with,' and that's one of the reasons why Austria, who is keen
  to maintain its market to those countries, will, I think,
  redouble its effort to make access to its own markets easier."

  One reason Austria likes trading with the east is the savings.
  Many Austrian companies have by-passed bureaucratic headaches
  and international quotas by forming joint-ventures in Central
  Europe to take advantage of cheaper eastern labor and raw
  materials.  Many of these joint-ventures are with Central
  European subcontractors, who export parts or partially-made
  products for assembly in the West.

  This is nothing new, and Papp says it shouldn't pose a problem
  for the Visegrad countries' chances of getting into the EU. 
  Member states Portugal and Greece have offered lower labor
  costs than the rest of Europe for years.  Also, Germany has
  been taking advantage of Central European labor for quite a
  while, and has become the Visegrad countries' top trading

  In the future, Papp says Austria will try to compete with
  Germany through traditional trading ties with France and
  Italy, offering itself as a conduit for trade with Central

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A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.

+ - Washington Post (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

New Freedoms vs. Old-Style Crackdowns Slovak Press Says Government Demands
Supportive Coverage, Not Honest Criticism


      BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Over the past four months, no news medium in
this small democracy has been safe from a mean game of Truth or Consequences.

      Television, radio and newspapers increasingly have been pressured --
and at times forced -- to accept wholesale changes or drop programs by a
newly elected government that appears to be geared toward finding a press
more sympathetic to the officialviewpoint.

     Slovakia's press spasms are the latest, if the most stark, examples of
where democracies in the former Communist bloc fall flat. Over the past three
years, human rights organizations such as Helsinki Watch have kept on eye on
what it called "crude attempts" in governments such as Croatia, Poland and
Hungary to affect news coverage. Last week, the Czech government, often
lionized as one of the most secure democracies in the new Europe, showed that
old habits die hard.
     Irritated by the reporting of scandals involving privatization, the
secret service and party funding, the Czech government drafted a sweeping law
that would require any or all media to publish or broadcast a reply from
anybody mentioned in any report if the person requests it.
     Here in neighboring Slovakia, government attacks on the press have
sparked weekly pro-press demonstrations by thousands of people who have
jammed a downtown square, protests by journalists and a rebuke from the New
York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Since November, within weeks of
the return to power of former prime minister Vladimir Meciar and his Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia, every popular medium has felt the sting.
      "This is the most radical time against journalists since 1990," said
Lubimir Lintner, deputy editor at SME, a two-year-old opposition newspaper.
"For any Western journalist, it's hard to understand what is going on here.
It doesn't happen in a democracy."
     Last Nov. 3, shortly after the elections, the state television and radio
council found its membership gutted during an unusual night session of
Parliament. By the next morning, 17 of the 18 members had been replaced. A
month later, three popular television shows that had tweaked the political
and powerful were dropped. The decision, television directors said, was
"based on economic needs."
     In January, Slovak Radio's Washington correspondent, Peter Susko, who
mildly criticized a trade delegation that traveled to Cleveland for a White
House-sponsored conference, was blasted in the government-backed Slovenska
Republika, criticized by an Economics Ministry spokesman and then learned his
contract would not be renewed. The new head of Slovak Radio, who is a member
of Parliament in Meciar's party, said the change was made for economic
     "It wasn't based on his commentary," Vladimir Holan, Slovak Radio
program manager, said of Susko's dismissal. "We just have some very serious
economic problems that we're trying to solve. But the political situation
here is that everyone is suspicious about everything. Small problems,
problems like this, become political when people don't know the facts."
     This month, a proposal to add a hefty value-added tax to all
publications with any foreign ownership -- a move that the International
ederation of Journalists here deemed "economic warfare" by the Meciar
government -- so outraged the major newspapers that they coordinated a kind
of visual raspberry to the government.
     They stripped their front pages on March 6 down to a one-word, one
paragraph alarm. "Znepokojenie" -- or Concern -- was the banner headline in
nine major dailies. High new taxes -- as much as 50 percent in some cases --
would kill off independent papers here, the statement said.
      "The move endangers the freedom of press in Slovakia and thus seriously
affects the constitutional right of citizens to freely choose their
information source," the papers said. The proposal narrowly lost in a
committee vote and despite assurances from government officials that they do
not plan to reintroduce it, the media is waiting for the next move.
     "It's not just us. It's TV, it's newspapers, it's all of us. It's a
question about the independent media in Slovakia. And whenever they need an
excuse, they say it's an economic problem," said Jan Baranek, a reporter for
Slovak Radio who led a petition drive protesting Susko's dismissal.
      When Meciar was Slovak prime minister within Czechoslovakia, before
that country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on Jan. 1, 1993, his
government was hostile to the media. When he was reelected Slovak prime
minister in June 1992, he said he had won despite federal television's
attempt to discredit him and one of his demands would be to dismantle federal
television and radio.
     According to Helsinki Watch, the Slovak Culture Ministry then cultivated
journalists "dedicated to fighting a ferociously nationalist propaganda
campaign" -- which was just "beginning to show its fruits" when Meciar's
government was ousted temporarily by a no-confidence parliamentary vote last
year, the human rights group said.
     Individual reporters who enjoyed a reprieve during the six months Meciar
was out of power say they now fear again that they are threatened. Radio Free
Europe reporter Stefan Hrib was one of four journalists attacked by pro
government demonstrators in March 1994. Police ignored the attack when he
said he worked for Radio Free Europe, he said.
      "We're pointed out and named as enemies" by backers of the government,
Hrib said, and while the protesters do not know him or listen to Radio Free
Europe, "what they know is the chief here hates us -- and they react."
     Supporters of the government's campaign argue that journalists in
Slovakia too often follow their own partisan leanings, a legitimate claim in
a still-developing news arena.
     Jergus Ferko, deputy editor of the pro-government Slovenska Republica
said, "The problem is the [opposition journalists] don't believe the
government. We believe [the government's] statements, and we don't try to
twist their truth."
     One television figure who apparently was deemed to have put the nation
at risk is Stanislaw Radic. His half-hour humor show, Apropos TV, enjoyed a
60 percent share of the viewing audience here, but, he said, while "we tried
to cover the entire political spectrum," too many people were laughing at too
many important people and the show was taken off the air.
  "Our problem was the political party now in power has decided that they are
infallible and shouldn't be criticized," Radic said.

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*][*]    [*][*][*]
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]
           [*][*][*]  [*][*][*]  [*][*]    [*][*] 
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]  [*]  [*]    
           [*]   [*]  [*]   [*]  [*]   [*] [*]

Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.