Journalists Fight Back

Media Freedom Is Further Eroded in Hungary

10 August 2020

What little media independence remains in Hungary hangs by a thread. The country is in serious democratic trouble. The big question is: does the European Union have the political will to take decisive action?

Index.hu was Hungary’s largest remaining independent news site, read by over a million people until it became the latest victim of the relentless political interference of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government. Last month its editor-in-chief, Szabolcs Dull, was fired.

In an act of defiance against interference, around 90 journalists – almost the entire editorial staff – resigned. Their reasons were clear: “This is such a strong infringement on the editorial independence of Index.hu that we simply could not accept,” the journalists said.

The events unfolding at Index.hu did not happen overnight. In June, more than 100 Index.hu journalists published a letter stating that the site was facing external pressure. This came a few months after Miklos Vaszily, a business tycoon close to Orbán, gained a large stake at the company that controls the site’s revenue streams and advertising.

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