Othering the Hungarian Opposition

Government-linked Media Works Hard to Present the Opposition as Chaotic and Against Hungarian Interests

17 September 2019

The decay of public discourse has been underway for some time. Ahead of the upcoming municipal elections in Hungary, on 12 October, government-linked media are stepping up their game.

At his inauguration two years ago, Hungarian President János Áder warned that there was a dramatic deterioration in the quality of political public discourse. If this continues, the Fidesz supported Áder said, “[it] can destroy everything that we built up since 1990”.

A study conducted in 2017 found that 43 per cent of Hungarians blame Viktor Orbán, Fidesz, the government and government-linked media outlets for the decay of quality of public discourse. Earlier this year,  the Association of Christian Intellectuals wrote in a press release that national public discourse has become increasingly rough, including public figures using vulgar and obscene expressions.

A well-oiled machine

So far, all these warnings have been fruitless. Following the 2018 elections, one Fidesz minister replied to critics that “democracy is a race, and consolidation is absurd”. The European Parliament (EP) elections and the upcoming municipal elections have been a sufficient motivation for not holding back the well-oiled campaign machine.

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Károly Gergely

Hungarian freelance journalist at Magyar Hang and a reporter for The International Cybersecurity Dialogue. He completed a Russian and East European Studies master's at the University of Oxford and currently serves as a researcher and analyst.

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