Despite many changes at the highest level of government, respect for press freedom has not improved. The attitude towards journalism and free speech that prevails within the state and the political class continues to encourage censorship and self-censorship. The media’s funding mechanisms are opaque or even corrupt, and editorial policies are subordinated to owner interests. The media have gradually been turned into political propaganda tools and are routinely subjected to surveillance by the security services.
Dozens of media owners are currently the target of criminal proceedings by anti-corruption units or by the prosecutor-general’s office. The authorities have also pressured journalists to reveal their sources or to refrain from being critical. With the ruling coalition’s encouragement, a nationalist discourse is becoming more and more radical and is targeting ethnic and sexual minorities. The Hungarian minority’s freedom of expression has in particular been targeted. The possibility of criminalizing “insulting the state or its leaders” is again being discussed at high levels. The authorities, private-sector companies and members of the public recently began invoking the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as grounds for denying access to information, or to threaten and prosecute journalists in connection with their investigative reporting.
47 in 2019
25.67 in 2019