|Bela K. Kiraly: The Hungarian Minority's Situation in Ceausescu's Romania|
In a democratic country, the press, radio, and television guarantee minorities opportuluties for mass comununication in their own language. This helps them preserve and develop their own culture and enables them to express specific minority interests and concerns. In Romania pluralism of views is an alien concept; freedom of the press has been virtually non-existent for Romanian citizens and their social groups since the late 1940s.  The Hungarian-language press, along with newspapers of other nationalities, is thus part of the state-owned monopolistic, and totally manipulated system of mass communications.  The number of Hungarian-language publications has declined over the past ten to fifteen years, and those that have survived, far from representing minority interests and values, are gradually becoming instruments of the government's nationalistic propaganda and policy of ethnic discrimination. 
The modern electronic media became widespread in Romania in the l950s and 1960s, just at the time when the newly nationalized information services were totally centralized. Thus, the Hungarian minority in Romania first encountered the media in its centralized form and must have considered every Hungarian word broadcast by radio or television to have been a benevolent gesture on the part of the central government.
In the domain of the press. however, the minority experienced, after 1948-49, the adverse consequences of centralizalion. The overpoliticized and tedious press of the Stalinist era must have been particularly annoying for the Hungarians, since Hungarian-language journalism in Transylvania had a rich heritage of high quality during the inter-war years. The diversity of the Hungarian press of that time is illustrated by the fact that in one year of the early 1930s seven Hungarian daily papers appeared simultaneously in Oradea. By the 1950s, practically all previous press organs had disappeared, cultural and literary publications had become utterly mediocre, and local Hungarian journalism had atrophied completely.
The present day profile of the press is essentially a product of the early 1950s. A single nationwide, "official" Hungarian-language daily appears in Bucharest, while local dailies are published in certain Hungarian-inhabited administralive units (initially regions. later counties). Other papers appear for various sectors of society (youth, women, the rural population, etc.) and there are publications with cultural and literary weekly supplements as well as a few literary and professional journals with a countrywide distribution.
Over the past few decades, a relative revival of the Hungarian media could be observed in the space of two short periods. First, there was a certain vitality in this field towards the end of the 1950s, followed by additional growth in the late 1960s when press organs were launched in the reorganized administrative units following the introduction of the county system. (New papers were started, for example, at Sfintu-Gheorghe (Sepsiszentgyorgy) in Covasna county and at Miercurea-Ciuc (Csikszereda) in Harghita county. In 1971, a county-wide cultural-political weekly A Het (The Week). appeared in Bucharest. and Romanian television initiated a Hungarian-language program. The early 1970s also witnessed favorable trends, as Hungarian-language mass communication expanded. On Mondays, Romanian television transmitted Hungarian programs of 2.0-2.5 hours durations and three Romanian raio stations (Bucharest, Cluj, and Tirgu-Mures) broadcast in Hungarian for a total of seven hours daily.
In the middle of the 1970s, a reversal took place in this area of minority policy as well. Citing economic difficulties, the government reduced the volume and circulation of periodical publications by 30-40%. This had devastating consequences for Hungarian newspapers. During the following few years, while Romanian newspapers grew in volume, Hungarianlanguage newspapers stagnated. Simultaneously with the reduction in the volume of Hungarian newspapers, was the 10-15% increase in price, twice the rate of the price increase for Romanian language publications.
In addition to the above setbacks, growing pressure was exerted to infuse the content of the Hungarian-language mass media with more of the official propaganda of state nationalism, the personality cult of the party's secretaly-general. and the biased romantic presentation of Rornanian history. This squeezed out the time left for cultivating the minority,s cultural and historical values. During the first half of the 1980s, the situation deteriorated even further. During this time the rnass media was often used by propagandists for inciting the majority against the national minorities. As the econornic situation increasingly worsened, television and radio newscasts also stepped up the glorification of the secretary-general of the party and president of the republic. These stressed "the brilliant achievements of the Ceausescu era" and the greatness of Romania.
Hungarian-language news services suffered further serious losses in December, 1984. Hungarian programs were terminated on Romanian television and the Hungarian broadcasts of the Cluj and Tirgu-Mures radio stations were also halted. In addition, Radio Bucharest reduced the transmission time of its Hungarian programs, initially to 60, then later to 30 mintutes per day. A further loss was incurred as a result of the removal of the archives, films, and tape recordings of the three dismantled studios. These contained materials of considerable value to cultural history. They were moved to some undisclosed location (e.g., the documents of the Hungarian television studio of Bucharest) or to a location with poor storage conditions (e.g., the tape collection of the Cluj studio).
In recent years. the Hungarian minority press has been publishing more and more articles translated directly from Romanian. Some papers have even become mere carbon copies of their Rornanian counterparts, e.g., Jobarat (Good Friend) and Tanugyi Ujsag (Educational Journal). Moreover. even the Hungarian-language press has been forced to join in the press polemics between Hungary and Romania by unquestioningly advocating the official Romanian stance. In a number of cases, leaders of the Romanian Communist Party have still been dissatisfied with the performance of newspapers and periodicals in the Hungarian community. In the mid-1980s, for exarnple, they removed the editor-in-chief and the deputy editor of the Hungarian weekly A Het (published in Bucharest). Further adverse personnel changes for Hungarian-language culture have been those imposed on the editorial staff of Korunk (Our Times), a time-honored sociological review published in Cluj. Some county papers have also suffered from this kind of intervention from above. Furthermore, in recent years the minority has not been in a position to issue local periodical publications, and the Hungarian-language educational press has been virtually eliminated. The circulation of Hungarian-language county newspapers has also been reduced. and the monthly review Muvelodes (Culture) ceased publication in January of 1986. 
As is evident from the foregoing, Stalinist totalitarianism introduced a singularly devastating and aggressive policy of assimilation for the Hungarians of Romania. From that time, the forced assimilation drive, which followed the political traditions of the Kingdom of Romania, was reinforced also by the objective of building a monolithic power structure. This required the liquidation of all the self-governing and autonomous units within society. These efforts faced determined opposition on the part of the system of religious, cultural and (initially) political institutions which had been established earlier by the minorities.
Hungarian public administration in northern Transylvania during the period 1940-44 (when the territory was briefly again under Hlmgarian control) made it possible for Transylvanian Hungarians to build up a set of cultural institutions suited to their traditions and political maturity. After Rornanian control was re-asserted, this set-up served as the basis for an institutional self-defense system for the minority. It centered around a county-wide network of mother-tongue instruction geared towards the educational and cultural needs of the Hungarian community and extended to all levels of education.
With the signing of the 1947 Peace Treaty, the intemational pressure ceased to ensure Romanian respect for minority rights. Shortly thereafter began the gradual liquidation of the Hungarian institutions that had just been established within the new state framework. This erosion took several decades of systematic effort on the part of the Romanian govenment.
Statistics in the field of education clearly reveal the gradual narrowing of instruction for minorities in the mother tongue and the sharp restriction of study opponunities for Hungarians in particular. It also resulted in undermining the organizational effectiveness of minority education. The sense of minority national identity was directly weakened by the militant Romanian nationalist bias that permeated the curricula. In this way a growing proponion of Hungarian students, who were compelled to attend Romanian language schools, could no longer become acquainted with their own Hungarian cultural traditions in the field of literature. Ths policy has also been followed in Hungarian nursery schools providing mother-tongue instruction by having drastically reduced their number over the past two decades, particularly in large cities and in villages with mixed populations.
Of tremendous significance for the Hungarians of Romania after l945 was that in addition to the network of primary and secondary schools. higher education for minority studennts also became institutionalized. The Bolyai University, which was named after Janos Bolyai, was established next to the Romanian University in Cluj. This university was the successor to the University of Kolozsvar founded by the Hungarians in 1872, which then became a Romanian university in 1918 and then reverted to Hungarian status again in 1940. Affiliated with this Hungarian-language university was the predominantly Hungarian Tirgu-Mures faculty of medicine and pharmacology. It later became an "independent" institution and also became more Romanianized. Additional Hungarian educational institutions in Cluj included an agricultural institute, a music conservatory, and a fine arts college. In Tirgu Mures, there is a theater academy and a teacher-training college. A teacher-training college was also established in Bacau to provide teachers for the Csango Hungarian schools that were established after 1948 in Moldavia.
As a consequence of restrictions and cutbacks, at present, instruction in the languages of minorities is confined almost exclusively to the level of primary education. However, even at this level the opportunities have been drastically reduced. From the very outset the basic plan of the Romanian govenment was to merge the minority schools with Romanian educational institutions. The erosion began in 1956 with primary schools. In fact, the last Hungarian school for the Csango Hungarians was already closed down in 1958.  The autnomous Hungarian university in Cluj met the same fate in 1959, just as the campaign began to eliminate autonomous secondary schools. Since the middle of this decade (1980s), there has been no autonomous establishment of secondary or higher education teaching in Hungarian or any other minority language.
As a result of the above campaign minority schools have been reduced to the status of sections in educational institutions for mixed nationalities. In these diluted institutions, with the assistance of internal (usually oral) directives and intimidation, minority languages have been gradually phased out. As a means to this end, the government has applied the discriminatory statute (Act 278/1978) mentioned earlier. By virtue of this act a class taught in a minority language could be opened only if at least 25 children requested it at the primary level and 36 students requested it at the secondary level. At the same time no numerical limitation existed for Romanian students. Romanian language instruction could thus be imposed even in places where national minorities constituted the majority. Where, for exarnple, in a school with only one or two Romanian children, a Romanian class was obligatory. In other places, parents were compelled to send their children to Romanian classes "for the sake of their children's future." Still elsewhere school inspectorates were attached to different school districts to ensure a Romanian majority in the given areas. At the same time school children were forbidden from moving from one district to another. In addition, one surreptitious means of pushing minority languages further into the background has been to Romanianize instruction in a growing number of subjects taught in minority sections of educational institutions.
In the 1970s, many secondary schools providing general education were transformed into vocational training schools on the pretext of meeting the "dynamically growing needs of thenational economy." This process enabled the government to manipulate new cadres and, at the same time, led to the opening of classes with instruction in minority languages, albeit primarily in trades with lower prestige. A special method of limiting vocational traning for the minorities involves limiting their access to schools close to their homes. The education of skilled workers employed in the new factories of Transylvania means attending trade schools lying east of the Carpathians, since such specialized training is plovided only in overwhelmingly Romanian areas. 
Act 6/1969 provides (in Article 1/9 of Chapter II) that, in the schools of cohabiting nationalities, education can be entrusted only to teachers familiar with the necessary languages of instruction. In 1985 and 1986, however, on the basis of an oral directive from the Ministry of Education, the schools in Harghita and Covasna counties, were compelled to accept the appointment of Romanian teachers with virtually no knowledge of Hungarian. Both these counties are overwhelmingly Hungarian. Several of these new appointees have since demonstrated their nationalist bias against both the children and their enviromnent.  This measure has been one of the most blatent attacks on mother-tongue education. In Harghita county, 86% of the children attended Hungarian sections in 1982. In 1985, 223 newly graduated teachers were posted in this county. Of these, only eight native Hungarian speakers and 191 teachers who did not speak Hungarian were assigned to the Hungarian sections. The remainder were assigned to purely Romanian sections. According to the oral directive issued on this occasion, and in sharp contrast to the statute mentioned earlier (Act 6/1969), tile teachers were to provide instruction in the language with which they were most familiar. In 1985, in Covasna county, 132 non-Htmgarian speaking teachers were assigned to Hungarian sections. In 1986 150 non-Hungarian speaking teachers were assigned to those sections. 
Until the autumn of 1986, all 23 secondary schools of Harghita county had Hungarian principals. Romanian principals were then appointed in 17 of these schools. This was also the start of the mass dismissal of Hungarian primary school principals still employed in Transylvania. This measure was the continuation of an analogous policy for relocation of teachers which had already been pursued by the Kigdom of Romania in the early 1920s.
Incentives for Romanian teachers, in the form of bonuses, to accept permanent appointments to Romanian state schools in a Hungarian environment were set up by an Act of July 26, 1924. In Transylvania, mainly the Szekely region was considered to be a cultural zone requiring Romanianization. In the present totalitarian Romania, this policy, unchanging in its objectives, has resorted to even more effective tactics for promoting its strategy of assimilation. It now has at its disposal a centralized and compulsory system for assigning teachers to school districts.
In comparing this trend with the declining number of Hungarian children receiving primary and secondary education in their mother tongue, it becomes readily apparent that the Romanian govemment is aiming at the complete eradication of minority education as rapidly as possible.
The discriminatory application of admission to institutions of higher education has also been used to limit Hungarian access to leadership positions in Romanian society. This is accomplished by raising educational obstacles to the recruitment and training of potential Hungarian intellectuals. It utilizes discriminatory quotas for university admission of the ethnic minorities. This is a new version of numerus clausus. Between 1970 and 1980, the proportion of university students of minority origin based on official data concerning the nationality composition of the student population - ranged from 8.08% to 8.32%, while the corresponding proportion of Hungarian students for those years ranged between 5.38% and 5.80%.  Yet, according to the 1977 census, the proportion of all minorities was 10.9% of the population and Hungarians constituted 7.9% of the total population. However. since the census of l977 was probably grossly distorted in favor of Romanians, even moderate estimates show the effective ratio of Hungarians to have been nearly 9.3%. This would mean that at least 12,000, rather than 7,497, Hungarian students should have been attending university daytime classes in Romania in the year 1977.
Table 4 The Population of Transylvania by Ethnic Groups and Linguistic
Affiliation (official census data in thousands)
nationality mother tongue
* Of which. 34.059 were of "other languages and nationalities." Source: Erdely tortenete [A History of Transylvania] (Budapest, 1986), p. 1767.
Table 5Changes in the Hungarian Population of Eight Major Transylvanian
Cities (official census data)
Table 6 Instruction in Hungarian for Primary-Level Pupils (Grades 1-8)
|Bela K. Kiraly: The Hungarian Minority's Situation in Ceausescu's Romania|