COVID-19: journalists threatened with imprisonment in Hungary

UPDATE (30/03/2020): The Hungarian Parliament on Monday voted to allow the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree without a set time limit. Under new law, people who spread what are viewed as untrue or distorted facts now face several years in jail. —————————— The Hungarian government demanded today an indefinite extension of the state of emergency. The bill would give prime minister Viktor Orbán sweeping powers to rule by decree, and the power to impose prison sentences of up to five years for promoting false information. The government has portrayed its request as a necessary response to…

Newsocracy: Protect Public Service Media against Political Interference

Public Service Media should broadcast for the public, be financed and controlled by the public. They should be a trusted source of news and provide impartial information to enable citizens to make informed decisions. While Public Service Media should be independent, the rise of populism further exposes them to political interference. Politicians try to undermine the media’s independence, manipulate and censor journalistic output. In the worst cases, Public Service Media are turned into state-controlled media, propaganda or public relations instruments.

Informal breakfast with French MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield

The EFJ GS will participate to an informal breakfast organised by French MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield about the outcomes of the recent IPI joint mission to Hungary.

Media freedom mission to Hungary

A coalition of international press freedom and journalist organizations will carry out a press freedom mission to Hungary from 25 to 27 November. Confirmed participants: IPI, ECPMF, CPJ, Article 19, RSF, EFJ (Ricardo Gutiérrez).

EESC report points out decline of media freedom in Europe

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which is composed of three groups representing the EU’s trade unions, employers’ organisations and diverse civil society organisations, issued an interim report on fundamental rights and the rule of law in Romania, Hungary, Poland, Austria and France. This report highlights serious concerns regarding freedom of expression and the media as put forward by civil society in the targeted countries. Building on this newly published report, the EESC held in Brussels on 5 November a high-level conference on “Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law – Trends in the EU from a civil society…

Meeting of the Advisory Board of “The illiberal Turn” Project

Dr Vaclav Stetka (PI) and Professor Sabina Mihelj (Co-I) have been awarded an ESRC standard research grant for a project titled “The Illiberal Turn? News Consumption, Political Polarisation and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe” (£817,000). The project will carry out a comparative analysis of the relationship between news consumption and political attitudes in four CEE countries – Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Serbia, at a key point in time when the region is witnessing the rise of populist leaders, resurgence of illiberal nationalism, and a shift towards authoritarian forms of government. Scheduled to run from May 2019 until November 2021,…

Hungary: almost 78% of the media are pro-government

The European Federation of Journalists has expressed concerns over the state of media freedom and independence in Hungary following the publication of a study showing that the majority of media in the country are pro-government. It was published on 2 May by the media monitor Mérték and investigates the level of independence of the Hungarian media, stating almost 78% of the media are pro-government. The study, commissioned by a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Sven Giegold (the Greens), shows the far-reaching media power of the ruling Fidez-party. In November 2018 the creation of the government-related media foundation KESMA uniting…