Hungary: Website blacklists allegedly pro-Soros journalist enemies

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a pro-government’s website’s blacklisting of eight journalists for allegedly “serving the interests” of George Soros, the Hungarian-born US billionaire and philanthropist who is increasingly the target of attacks by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government.

Here is the list of “Soros’s foreign propagandists,” the pro-government site has announced on its homepage since 5 September, going on to give the names and biographical details of eight Hungarian or Hungarian-born journalists working for foreign media outlets.

All of are accused of providing “a propaganda service” for Soros, branded by Orbán as Public Enemy No. 1. The website says they are neither “objective” nor “independent” and they “discredit” Hungary in the eyes of the outside world.

“These targeted attacks on journalists are extremely disturbing for media freedom and pluralism in Hungary,” said Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union desk. “Such stigmatization of independent journalists who are critical of the government is unworthy of a democracy.”

Campaigns accusing Soros of meddling in Hungarian politics and trying to bring hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Europe have become much more intense in recent months.

In July, the government launched a major anti-Soros poster campaign and warned of the role played by certain media outlets that are supposedly being exploited by Soros. The posters caused such an outcry that the government had to take them down.

Hungary is now just months away from parliamentary elections in April 2016 in which Orbán hopes to tighten his hold on power and boost the influence of his party, Fidesz.

Ever since Orbán’s return to premiership in 2010, democracy has been in retreat in Hungary, which is ranked 71st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 08.09.2017