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A Hungarian man holds a banner depicting Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a king on TV during a demonstration against a government media law, Budapest, Hungary, Jan. 27, 2011 (AP photo by Bela Szandelszky).

Orban’s Consolidation of Hungary’s News Media Harkens Back to the Communist Era

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018

For all the criticism leveled at him, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is an innovative political leader. His illiberal model of governance is increasingly embraced on both sides of the Atlantic, and his unflinching focus on migration—years after the refugee crisis peaked in Europe—continues to pay him handsome dividends. He won a third supermajority in Hungary’s parliament earlier this year and is poised for a landslide victory in elections in the European Parliament next year.

Yet recent developments in Hungary’s media market, engineered by Orban’s government, seem anything but innovative. The creation of a pro-government media juggernaut at the end of November, after seemingly altruistic “donations” by several government-affiliated businessmen, harkens back to the communist era, when the party-state and media were fused, with the press serving up nothing but propaganda to further the regime’s goals. ...

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