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26th April, 2018

Media freedom shrinking in Hungary

Hungary dropped two places from 71st to 73rd in the past year in the Press Freedom Index compiled by international journalists organisation Journalists Sans Frontieres (RSF).
t said that businessmen close to Fidesz bought new media outlets and pushed out foreign investors from Hungary last year. Their biggest success in this regard was the acquisition of the last three regional daily newspapers not controlled by Fidesz-friendly owners.

The newspapers in northern and eastern Hungary were sold by RussMedia to Austrian Henrich Pecina last summer

Nevertheless, there remain print and online publications that publish reports of corruption by Fidesz and government officials, the report notes.

It adds, however, that two “media bubbles” co-exist in Hungary. “One, created by pro-government and pro-Fidesz media outlets, is obsessed with migration, the ‘defence of Hungary and its borders’ and its hate campaign against the Hungarian-American billionaire philanthropist George Soros. The other is focused on finding corruption scandals.”

RSF observes that the cabinet and the business sphere close to it have set their sights on two media outlets critical of it, RTL Klub TV channel and news website Index.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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