Facebook has reversed its decision and restored a video posted by Janos Lazar, head of Viktor Orban's Prime Minister's Office, in which he allegedly made racists comments while walking around a multicultural area of Vienna. The video message had sparked outrage in Austria and in Hungary.
Facebook said on March 7 that it was making an exception to its usual ban on hate speech. "People use Facebook to challenge ideas and raise awareness about important issues, but we will remove content that violates our community standards, including hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “Exceptions are sometimes made if content is newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest,” it said.
Lazar had slammed Facebook for banning his post, which according to him hurts freedom of speech.
The Hungarian prime minister's chief of staff was shown in a video in the Tenth District of Vienna. The quarter has the fourth highest foreign population in the city, with inhabitants with mostly Serbian and Turkish backgrounds, who have lived there for decades.
"Vienna has become a worse place because of the refugees. Evidently the streets are dirtier, the area is poorer and there’s lots more crime, The white Christian Austrians have moved out already from this part of the city, and the immigrants have taken control," the former caucus leader of the Fidesz party said in the video.
There are a great number of schools in Vienna where there are no white Viennese children left, only the children of Muslim immigrants and immigrants from the Middle East," Lazar said.
He goes on to say that Hungarian cities would also deteriorate should opposition parties win national elections in April and "let in the migrants".
Orban has turned up his xenophobic campaign after a surprising election loss at a mayoral by-election 25, which showed that election victory may not be all that certain for Fidesz as the large number of undecided voters could eventually back opposition candidates at the April 8 general election.
Orban has called opposition parties puppets of Brussels, who would open up borders and let migrants in, succumbing to the will of European Commission and the United Nations.
The video message has caused an outrage among Austrian politicians. Vienna's vice mayor Dominik Nepp dismissed Lazar's remarks, saying they were "unreasonable and not exactly an act of courtesy in the sense of friendly relations between neighbouring countries".
Vienna city councilor Renate Brauner of the SPÖ party expressed her shock on Twitter. "As city councilor for international relations and proud Viennese I protest in the strongest terms against the portrayal of my hometown,", she added.
The allegations are wrong and sadly xenophobic, she said. I only wish that in Hungary the cities look like Vienna - the city with the highest quality of life in the world, she added Brauner. Despite Lazar’s comments about the city, Vienna has topped the global quality of life surveys for eight years in a row.
Lazar wanted to frighten voters with the streets in Vienna, while he should have gone to the slums in the poor northeastern Hungarian county of Borsod or the "ghetto" in the 8th district of Budapest [where many poor Roma live] or unheated schols, or people freezing in their homes and poorly equipped hospitals, historian and journalist Peter Konok was quoted as saying by Austrian news agency APA.
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