Hungary is a Unitary Parliamentary Republic in Central Europe, and one of the many countries that lost their freedom status in 2019, as announced by the Freedom House Freedom in the World report on Feb. 4. Freedom House is an independent organization formed in 1941 in the United States of America and its main purpose is to ensure and promote democracy around the world and fight for human rights, political rights and freedom of speech.
Hungary’s status changed from “free” to “partly free”, as a result of the interference in many democratic institutions by the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party. In addition, control was imposed to many minorities like the media, the NGO’s, and the religious groups.
The Constitution of Hungary protects the freedom of press, expression and belief, but Fidesz succeeded in politicizing the media and the local, regional and national media companies began to serve the government.
Today, many of the media companies are controlled or owned by government members and most of the independent ones, like the daily, Népszabadság,closed and ceased their work right after Orbán and his party won the parliamentary elections in 2018.
Furthermore, as reported by the Freedom House Report, all owners of pro-government media channels and outlets united in one mass pro-government foundation with over 500 titles.
Another key element in analysing the press freedom in Hungary is the World Press Freedom Index (WPFI). This is an organization formed by Reporters Without Borders (RWB), that independently collects information concerning the freedom of the media in different countries around the globe and ranks them every year.
According to, the world rankings in 2018, Hungary is 73 out of 180 countries, while in 2017, the country was 71 in the rank list. This decline is a result of the “appetite for media ownership”, as described by WPFI.
Many foreign media investors in Hungary were banished and replaced by local businessman close to the prime minister, Viktor Orbán and his party. Control was imposed on the last three independent newspapers as well, but the WPFI states that, there is still variety of information as the online media publishers were not so affected by the government.
In the country exists two kinds of media. The pro-government media outlets, which main purpose is “the defence of Hungary and its borders” and on the other hand, the opposition media outlets, which main aim is to look for corruption scandals and report them to the audience. Although, there are no cases of murdered journalists in the last three years the tension increased and media is under great pressure.
Dayana Kaymakanova is a senior at AUBG majoring is International Relations and Politics. After graduation, she wants to focus on my political career.