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Dec 04, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Shocker! Soros-funded international coalition says Hungary’s press freedom in danger

“Hungary dismantles media freedom and pluralism,” reads the sensational title of a report published today by an “international coalition” of seven “independent” organizations.

At least five of the seven groups in this “international coalition” of “independent” organizations -- the International Press Institute, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, and Reporters Without Borders -- are Soros funded. The representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists, as I tweeted earlier today, is a former editor-in-chief and current board member for a prominent, Soros-funded, Hungarian opposition media outlet.

We can argue the substance of their report – see below – but let’s be clear about one thing: There’s nothing independent about this international coalition. They had already arrived at their conclusion about media freedom before they arrived in Hungary.

Of course, you won’t find this in their report.

Meanwhile, the document employs a tactic of twisting facts and distorting the state of Hungary’s media landscape. “The Hungarian government maintains a veil of media pluralism,” reads the report, “by citing the few independent media outlets that exist and pointing out – misleadingly – that some of these media remain market leaders (though only barely).”

“Only barely”? Consider this: Some 35 percent of Hungarians get their news and information from the Internet. Who has the biggest online audience? Index.hu, a news platform staunchly critical of the Orbán Government that is also the most popular Hungarian site on the Internet. Among the top 100 Hungarian websites, according to the DKT council that measures audience share, media that could be considered sympathetic to the government garner approximately 1.7 million pageviews daily. Online, liberal media critical of the government pull in 3.5 million per day – more than double.

Yet, the International Press Institute would have you believe that Hungary dismantles media freedom and pluralism.

The report tells us that the delegation met with a “wide range” of Hungarian journalists and civil society groups, although it does not tell us which ones. It does note that I met with the group, and takes issue with my saying that many so-called “independent” journalists more closely resemble political activists. They objected, of course, but a fact-finding mission like this, composed of individuals and groups funded by a man who has publicly stated his opposition to the Orbán Government and our policies, cannot credibly claim to be independent. They proved my point.