The Ethical Journalism Network, together with their partners the Evens Foundation and the Fritt Ord Foundation, have produced the report which looks at the challenges that the media are facing in Hungary.
This report is part of a series of reports that will be published over the coming months on the media situations in Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
Based on a number of interviews conducted with media practitioners in Hungary, the report looks at the impact that a media environment that has been captured by political interests has on independent journalistic practice and ethics as well as on building trust in journalism. It includes a set of clear recommendations for the media and policy communities to take forward.
This policy report provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that the media are facing in Hungary. Based on a number of key stakeholder interviews that took place in Hungary, it finds that the Hungarian government’s strategy of ‘media capture’ has created a landscape where freedom of the press is under attack and the possibility for the emergence of alternative voices and narratives is diminishing. Since 2010, there has been an ongoing attack on media financing including a concerted effort to control advertising markets, commercial revenue streams and all forms of public money to support the media. The media market is dominated by the public media, a propaganda machine for the government, and pro-government media that is supported by oligarchs and patrons of the current governing party. Independent media platforms live in fear of financial crisis and even buyout by pro-government media moguls and tycoons. This environment sees ethical media principles challenged and some defining aspects of professional journalistic practice, such as sourcing and accuracy, compromised. This is perpetuating the already endemic lack of trust in the media amongst a highly fragmented Hungarian public.