The World’s Conservatives Gather in Budapest
23 September 2021
Private corporations are changing the media and political landscape of Central and South-Eastern Europe in their pursuit of business interests. It is increasingly difficult to talk about the television market when national communication networks go private and business entities deliver services to a range of offline and online communication channels. For now, the EU does not seem to have an active response to the growing media concentration in corporations that also have political and corporate ties to Russia and China. Could a European public broadcaster be a silver bullet or can the privatisation of domestic politics be contained by other means?
When the EU Commission green-lighted the sale of the Central European Media Enterprises (CME) to the PPF Group, early this October, it also gave the go-ahead to a larger but less visible digital merger.
It is questionable whether the actual reach which the PPF Group has accumulated (a combination of telecommunication networks, Internet television services or online shopping platforms and the newly acquired network of television stations), can be adequately measured in size.
To understand how this can change the contents of what people are watching and following on television and online in Central and South-Eastern Europe, we first need to have a closer look at the remarkable rise of a business which keeps bumping into politics.