Multiple Factors Affect Media in Hungary

Regarding the article ``Hungarians Protest State's Crackdown on Broadcast Media,'' Nov. 15: Some United States papers and even US foreign policy directives at times are suffering from a lack of understanding when it comes to Central and Eastern Europe.

There are no instant solutions when one tries to understand the political, ethnographic, social, and geographical history of the region. Our national papers should give more credit to their readers. The American public is eager to learn.

The editor in chief of the Hungarian evening news program was fired when it was discovered that the story that aired on Oct. 23, 1992, was refabricated to support the personal political views of his staff. Subsequent investigations by Sony Broadcast International found that ``the tape is not in fact a camcorder recording at all, but a subsequently edited tape made on the studio VCR.'' That is the reason for the firing of Andras Bano, not government crackdown (which the Monitor article implies is the reason that Radio Free Europe has ``given up'' on Hungary).

Richard McBride, the executive director of the Board of International Broadcasting, the agency responsible for the termination of RFE's broadcast to Hungary, stated: ``All the members of the board felt comfortable with their decision to terminate the broadcast, since Hungary is the furthest along of the former communist bloc countries in their process of creating a free society ... and therefore, the program could be terminated without any adverse effects.'' The other factor Mr. McBride cited was the budgetary saving required to implement the president's plan to consolidate international broadcasting. He also mentioned that Voice of America is staying on the air in Hungary indefinitely. Ferenc Hrabak, Shaker Heights, Ohio

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