This paper provides an overview of how the Hungarian media system has
evolved since 2010. This long decade fundamentally changed the Hungarian public sphere by the construction of the illiberal state and the
move away from the democratic values of the European Union.
It is particularly striking that the transformation of the media system occurred at several levels, yet the different steps were coordinated and mutually reinforcing. The basis for all this was the change in the regulatory environment, but this was quickly followed by further steps. The transformation of public service media into a propaganda machine, the upheaval of market power and the squeezing out of many foreign professional investors, as well as the making of journalistic work
more difficult, have been observed step by step over the past period. Always a little hidden in the most analyses, but a very important development is the shrinking of local publicity and the struggle for survival of a few heroically struggling independent newsrooms.
In contrast to the regular Mérték Media Monitor’s Soft Censorship reports, which analyse developments over the year, this study presents the process of change. Understanding the transformation of the media system in Hungary in the 2010s is important for those who experienced the process from the inside, as events were happening before their eyes, but it was not always clear how a particular step fit into the systemic transformation. But the study is just as important for European citizens who still do not understand how the dismantling of media freedom in a Member State of the European Union could have happened in front of the EU institutions.
The project was supported by the Human Rights Fund of the Embassy of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Mertek Booklets 25: MEDIA LANDSCAPE AFTER A LONG STORM The Hungarian media politics since 2010