Hungary Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 64.48 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Hungary 72/180
According to Reporters Without Borders, Viktor Orbán’s government used the pandemic as a pretext to increase its control on media calling Hungary an “information police state at the heart of Europe.” Reporters Without Borders also added Prime Minister Victor Orban to its “enemies of press freedom” list.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Hungarian Media consists of privately-owned and state-owned media outlets. In 2010, after Victor Orban became Prime Minister, Hungary’s Media Law consolidated media regulation under the supervision of a single regulatory body, The National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMH/Nemzeti Média és Hírközlési Hatóság). NMHH’s primary task is to regulate media, issue licenses, and promote investment in the media.
The administrative organ of the NMHH is the Media Council. Orban’s Media Law has drawn heavy criticism from European countries because Orban’s populist right-wing Fidesz appointees filled the key positions. In 2018, pro-government private media such as TV and radio stations, print, and online outlets merged to form a media conglomerate called the Central European Press and Media Foundation known as KESMA, which according to The Atlantic, “amplified worries about media consolidation.”
Privately owned media mainly finance themselves through advertising. However, government ad spending favors pro-government media organs, such as the weekly political magazine Figyelő, acquired by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s former adviser Mária Schmidt and receives about 70 percent of its advertising revenue from the state. Another example is pro-government businessman Miklos Vaszily who acquired Index.hu, Hungary’s most prominent news site. Finally, besides cutting off state advertising, Prime Minister Orbán often labeled media outlets criticizing him as the main enemy and ‘Soros mafia.”
In summary, the Hungarian Government controls media and continues to increase its control resulting in a media that is encouraged to promote government propaganda.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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