Soft Censorship Hungary 2015 (Mertek Booklets 9.)

Crony capitalism and the media market

The methods and trends of the state’s interventions in media policy and the media system after 2010 were both a reflection of and a blueprint for the general workings of the government. When the Media Act was adopted, it provided one of the early glimpses into what would soon emerge as the predominant model of lawmaking, which essentially involved the hollowing out of the legislative process. The system of institutions created by this law made clear that positions that had previously been filled based on political deals between parties would now be filled based on unilateral decisions by a hegemonic governing party. The European debates surrounding this law, and the trajectory of the confrontation with European institutions, was an important experience for Orbán in showing where the boundaries lie which he cannot transgress without causing backlash at the European level. However, it simultaneously also delineated the boundaries of the area within which he can do as he pleases, including the adoption of any autocratic measure he sees fit, as long as he is mindful of the boundary he may not cross. The expansion of media enterprises that are in a symbiotic relationship with Fidesz, and the concomitant squeezing out of foreign investors from the media market, serve as a model for the general scheme whereby the governing party has sought to take control of other markets as well.

The project was supported by Democracy& Media Foundation.

Mérték Füzetek 9./Mertek Booklets 9:

The Methods are old, the cronies are New

ISSN 2559-8937

ISBN 978-963-12-7984-9