olympic games, IOC.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Alistair Ross, used under CC BY

In a flashback to the days of the Cold War, Hungary's state TV has stayed mum about the presence of a refugee team at the Olympics, a fact drawing criticism from opposition media on Sunday.

Reflecting the anti-refugee position of the rightist-conservative government of Premier Viktor Orban, Hungarian television network MTV's reporter on Saturday named neither swimmer Yusra Mardini by name nor mentioned her special status as a member of the refugee team in Rio.

Under Orban, Hungary is pursuing a repressive policy towards refugees, with state media calling asylum-seekers economic refugees and terrorists. On October 2 a national referendum is to be held at Orban's initiative on the issue of Budapest rejecting the EU's agreement on refugee quotas.

Opposition media are charging MTV with censorship in not reporting Mardini's name, and say it smacks of the days of the communist regime during the Cold War.

One example in the 1960s came during a friendly match of Real Madrid against Vasas Budapest when the media named the Real players except for one. That was legendary Hungarian player Ferenc Puskas who fled the country after the anti-communist uprising was crushed in 1956. The communist regime had dubbed him a "national traitor."

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