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Opinionsbloggen

Replik: Hungarian media widely covers all types of stories

Replik på ledaren Auktoritäre Orbán ska inte ha ett öre

In the Expressen editorial there are many elements that would require comments but I limit myself to one segment here.

The article claims that “the Hungarian people were told nothing” about the news related to the former Hungarian Member of the European Parliament, József Szájer, since “Orbán controls 80 percent of Hungary’s media”. There is a misunderstanding both as to your facts and to your argument.

Contrary to your claim that something was hidden from the Hungarian audience, in fact, this issue exploded the Hungarian media from printed to electronic, from television to radio. Besides the different elements of the story and its consequences, comments made by Hungarian politicians (Prime Minister, Government members, other Government or opposition representatives) and the related parliamentary debates were also widely covered by the Hungarian media. A recent survey conducted by Euronews shows  that 7 out of 10 Hungarians know about the news item you refer to.

Your calculation that “the Hungarian Prime Minister controls 80 percent of the Hungarian media” is interesting but does not describe the Hungarian media landscape, which is complex and vibrant. There are about 10 nationwide public or commercial TV and radio channels broadcasting news. There are dozens of big online news sites and all of them are free of charge for the readers, not like in Sweden where subscription is needed for some of them. All these media platforms represent a great variety of views also when it comes to the performance of the Government, some more pro, while others sharply critical. The ownership is also colourful and steered according to market principles as in any other EU country and the word “control” as used in your article is clearly biased.

I see that it is very mainstream in the Swedish media to write something negative and astonishing about Hungary. Still, I would rather suggest looking into the topic, trying to be balanced and objective in the reports. When sources are used for articles my advice is to take the original and fact-based source and do not simplify certain circumstances.

Adrien Müller,
Ambassador of Hungary

Expressen svarar:

Thank you for your letter. You dispute some of the claims in the article. Therefore we would like to present the sources that we used in regard to those claims:

https://euobserver.com/political/150265

https://www.svd.se/i-ungern-far-ingen-veta-om-politikerns-sexfest

https://europeanjournalists.org/blog/2019/12/03/new-report-hungary-dismantles-media-freedom-and-pluralism/