Tuesday

20th Oct 2020

Letter

MDIF responds to Orban criticism

  • Reporters Without Borders 2019 report found that press freedom in Viktor Orban's Hungary has fallen below that of Sierra Leone (Photo: European People's Party - Flickr)

In his response to my op-ed on media capture, Dr Zoltan Kovacs does not even try to refute my main point about Hungary: that most Hungarian news media have been captured by the state, and that this anti-democratic trend is spreading across Eastern Europe.

At the same time, he nicely demonstrates his government's refusal to tolerate criticism.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The familiar Soros smokescreen is part of the Viktor Orban playbook and Dr Kovacs deploys it in an attempt to hide that he leaves my main point unanswered.

And it is indeed undeniable that Fidesz's business allies took control of and then gifted almost 500 outlets to a government-supporting foundation. Nor can he deny that there is now not a single nationwide radio channel nor daily print newspaper that is fully independent of government.

MDIF is transparent about its many funders and investors who share our mission. We are entirely open about our agenda: we invest in independent media companies dedicated to fact-based reporting, with a commitment to political pluralism, government accountability and the rule of law.

There is no need to take my word for the decline of media freedom in Hungary.

It is well-documented, for example by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders, which found in its 2019 report that press freedom in Hungary has fallen below that of Sierra Leone.

I think that deplorable statistic is a matter that is truly deserving of Dr Kovacs' attention.

Author bio

Harlan Mandel is chief executive officer of the Media Development Investment Fund.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Orban-style 'media capture' is spreading across Europe

We hear a lot about the threats of social media and misinformation to our democracies. What we don't hear about is another anti-democratic disease that has already claimed multiple victims across the continent - 'media capture'.

Letter

Right of reply from the Hungarian government

A right of reply on behalf of the Hungarian government to the opinion piece "Orban-style 'media capture' is spreading across Europe" published on 6 June.

Baltics pin hopes on Biden

On a 2016 Latvia trip, vice-president Joe Biden told Baltic leaders not to take Donald Trump seriously. "Don't listen to that other fellow. He knows not of what he speaks", Biden joked. Months later, Trump was in the White House.

Ghost town haunts future of Cyprus

One ghost town symbolises Cyprus' plight. Varosha, a Greek-Cypriot city in the occupied district of Famagusta on the east coast, has been cordoned off by the Turkish military since 1974. This is why I never saw my mother's home before.

How enlargement is running out of steam

While the EU's enlargement progress reports have moved closer to capturing the problems of the region, they are still lagging behind in capturing the decline of democracy and rule of law in most of the region.

Europe has forgotten the 'farm' in 'Farm to Fork'

US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue argues that the EU is taking an approach "more based on 'political science' than demonstrated agricultural science" in its new Farm to Fork strategy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. EU money used by neo-Nazi to promote Holocaust denial
  2. Over 80% of Europe's habitats in poor or bad condition
  3. EU's Brexit move could end deadlock in talks
  4. EU's migrants more at risk from coronavirus
  5. Baltics pin hopes on Biden
  6. France marks trauma of history teacher's murder
  7. Spain's Sanchez in storm over judicial appointments bill
  8. Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us