The image of family relayed by media to young people, the values they discover through that image, and the way family life is presented to them are not irrelevant, the Minister of State for Family and Youth Affairs of the Ministry of Human Capacities said at the conference Media in the Service of Families held in Budapest on Tuesday.

Speaking about the role played by the media in shaping values, Katalin Novák said it is important to highlight the resources families represent in life, in addition to difficulties.

She stressed that the government stands in the service of families, and in this work it also offers partnership to the media, in addition to churches, family organisations, local governments, and the actors of science and business. The media always represent and convey one value or another, even when “they take steps in the direction of a world without values,” even if they fail to identify any value they stand for, she pointed out.

Mrs Novák took the view that, in addition to providing objective information, the media could play a special role in the representation of family values and the strengthening of a family-friendly mentality, as well as in encouraging communities to recognise the responsible decision to start a family.

The government therefore supports media contents that convey family values, the Minister of State said, mentioning as an example the series entitled Family Magic in which popular, well-known people allow members of the audience to “go behind the scenes,” to gain an insight into their family lives.

Zoltán Kovács, Minister of State for International Communications and Relations at the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister highlighted that since 2010 the government has done a great deal primarily for children and families on the basis of conservative or Christian democratic values. He added that one of the most important criteria in the government’s efforts related to family policy is that we measure ourselves not against the expectations of others or some yardstick that does not exist in reality, but against ourselves, the interests of the Hungarian people.

At the same time, he expressed hope that the initial hostile reactions to Hungary’s family policy measures that emerged in the international media would eventually turn into understanding in the wake of the results.

He pointed out that Hungary systematically and consciously adopts decisions or pursues paths which are contrary to the international mainstream or, as the case may be, to what others try to impose on us, such as in the field of family policy. In this context, he said it is a surprising experience how in Western Europe – after the initial incomprehension and lack of empathy – hatred emerged when one measure or another adopted by the Hungarian government proved to be viable.

It is time to measure ourselves against ourselves, not others, Mr Kovács said, adding that we should adjust not to principles identified elsewhere or criteria imposed on us, but instead we should identify our objectives and measure our results in the environment of Hungarian society and reality. The Minister of State said he sincerely believes that the mentality, as part of which living in a family, raising children in a family and looking after children are seen as something fashionable again will become a part of everyday life in Hungary, in contrast to the presentation in liberal media over an extended period of family life as nothing but a nuisance.

Miklós Szánthó, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Central European Press and Media Foundation said it is an absurd, surreal and grotesque situation that it is necessary to defend and to promote that which is normal, that which is natural. In his view, this is necessary because the traditional family model and marriage are under comprehensive attack. The attacks on the very foundations of family represent not only an abstract threat, but equally jeopardise the rights and interests of children, he said.

Public discourse, the press, PR, marketing and the movie world in the West have all joined the liberal choir representing this; however, Hungary still has a chance in this field. Mr Szánthó took the view that in this struggle the press, the media, and the entire world outside and beyond politics, as well as popular culture, the intelligentsia, public discourse, opinion makers and politicians all play a prominent role.

In his view, the question is whether the media and public discourse will adopt the language of political correctness, and will as a result relativise the concept of a normal family, or will continue to strengthen the traditional family image.

He said the more than four hundred press outlets coming under the foundation under his supervision must operate in accordance with the principles and goals laid down in a document. According to this, they must serve the reinforcement of national identity, the protection of Christian culture, and through this, the strengthening of traditional, normal families, he said.

In his view, politicians, media workers and media owners who believe in conservative, Christian and national values must, in their own respective fields, bravely represent them.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)