Hungarians demand end to pro-government bias in public media

Nov 3, 2022, 10:25 PM | Updated: Nov 4, 2022, 12:44 pm
Participants attend the demonstration announced by independent Hungarian lawmaker Akos Hadhazy in f...

Participants attend the demonstration announced by independent Hungarian lawmaker Akos Hadhazy in front of the public media headquarters (MTVA) in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

(Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Around 1,500 demonstrators gathered at the headquarters of Hungary’s public media company Friday to protest what they say is biased news coverage and state-sponsored propaganda that favors the country’s populist government.

Demonstrators called for the replacement of the director of public media corporation MTVA and for coverage of a recent wave of major protests and strikes by Hungarian teachers and students. The protests demanding better pay and working conditions for educators have been largely ignored by public media despite some drawing tens of thousands of people.

The protest Friday, dubbed a “blockade of the factory of lies,” was called by independent opposition lawmaker Akos Hadhazy, a former member of the ruling Fidesz party who is known as an anti-corruption crusader.

Speaking at the protest, Hadhazy said Hungary’s government had created a “propaganda machine” that has refused to provide opposition voices airtime while openly advocating the policies of the governing party.

“In a normal country, the public media follow very strict rules to ensure that opposition opinions and government party opinions are presented in the same way and in the same quantity,” Hadhazy said. “As long as this propaganda machine is available to the government, it can do virtually anything.”

Hungary’s government, under the leadership of nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban since 2010, has frequently been accused of eroding press freedoms and rolling back democratic checks and balances.

International media watchdog Reporters Without Borders added Orban to its list of “press freedom predators” last year. But he has pointed to the existence of several online news outlets and commercial television stations that are critical of his government as proof that the media in Hungary are “freer and more diverse” than in Western Europe.

At the protest Friday, Sandor Godan, 68, said Hungary’s public media have used the airwaves to create an alternate reality.

“Well, it’s just unwatchable, it’s as simple as that,” Godan said. “They’re not saying what’s happening in reality, they’re living in a bubble.”

Another demonstrator, Gyorgy Laszlo, said he believed Hungarian elections have been influenced by an over-representation of pro-government voices.

“The fact of the matter is that public media doesn’t operate according to the law. If you read the media law, it should be balanced,” he said. “Hungarian brains have been washed for ten years and they have been washed successfully.”

In September, the European Union’s legislature declared that Hungary had become “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under Orban’s leadership, and that its undermining of the bloc’s democratic values had taken Hungary out of the community of democracies.

Orban’s government faces financial penalties from the EU in the billions of dollars over concerns over corruption and rule-of-law violations.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Residents watch a live broadcast of the memorial service for late former Chinese President Jiang Ze...
Associated Press

Late Chinese leader Jiang hailed in memorial service

BEIJING (AP) — China’s communist leaders eulogized the late leader Jiang Zemin on Tuesday as a loyal Marxist-Leninist who oversaw their country’s rapid economic rise while maintaining rigid party control over society. President and party leader Xi Jinping praised Jiang in an hour-long address at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People as senior officials and […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: December 6, 13th Amendment is ratified

Today in History Today is Tuesday, Dec. 6, the 340th day of 2022. There are 25 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 6, 1865, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery, was ratified as Georgia became the 27th state to endorse it. On this date: In 1790, Congress […]
21 hours ago
A postal worker walks past the Reserve Bank of Australia in Sydney, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. Australi...
Associated Press

Australia’s central bank raises key interest rate to 3.1%

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Australia’s central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 3.1% as it continues trying to wrestle down inflation. The rate increase is the eighth in a row made by the bank and marks the rate’s highest level in 10 years. Still, Australia’s rate hikes have remained […]
21 hours ago
concede...
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

Republican Joe Kent's campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state's 3rd Congressional District.
21 hours ago
FILE - The central business district skyline is seen during the dusk in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday,...
Associated Press

Adultery a punishable offense in Indonesia’s criminal code

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s Parliament has passed a long-awaited and controversial revision of its penal code that criminalizes extramarital sex and applies to citizens and visiting foreigners alike. A parliamentary taskforce finalized the bill in November and lawmakers unanimously approved it Tuesday. After ratification, the new criminal code must be signed by the president, […]
21 hours ago
Gavel...
Associated Press

Case against man arrested in 1994 death of woman dismissed

Criminal charges against a man suspected in the 1994 murder of a Vancouver, Washington, woman have been dismissed.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Hungarians demand end to pro-government bias in public media