EP delegation report on media, education and culture in Hungary expresses serious concerns – Népszava
March 16. 2023. – 09:06 AM
A report on the state of the media, education and culture in Hungary, based on the visit of an EP delegation to Hungary, expresses serious concerns, according to a report from Népszava, which appears to have obtained a copy of the as of yet unpublished document.
The delegation included MEPs from the Christian Democrat, Socialist, Liberal and Eurosceptic groups, who met government and opposition politicians, heads of state authorities, journalists, representatives of educational and cultural institutions and representatives of NGOs last November.
According to the delegation, the appointees representing the governing party and state organisations linked to the government tried to present Hungary as a country characterised by normality, social and economic prosperity, lack of political tensions and society's strong support of the Fidesz ideology.
At the same time, the visiting MEPs criticised the regulation of the Hungarian media, questioned the independence of the Media Authority and slammed the creation of KESMA, (Central European Press and Media Foundation) which they said was evidence of the dismantling of independent media and their being forced to serve the government.
They denounced the fact that the public media hardly gives space to voices other than those of the government and that the majority of advertising by state-owned companies is given to the pro-government press.
According to Népszava, András Koltay, president of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority and the Media Council, explained that he believes the media cannot be considered independent because it has always followed a political line (independence, according to many, does not mean that a newspaper has no worldview, but that it is not dependent on specific politicians or parties, as is the case with many Hungarian media close to the government, which are dependent on certain political actors – ed.)
Although not mentioned in the summary description of the visit, according to Népszava, András Koltay called certain questions provocative and asked the delegation not to return to Hungary.
After the publication of the Népszava article, we asked Koltay in writing whether this was indeed the case, and we will report back as soon as he responds to our inquiry.
Delegation members also criticise the government's centralisation of decision-making in both education and cultural policy, and claim that the nationalist narrative that is gaining ground classifies alternative views as anti-Hungarian, limits creative expression and reduces pluralism in the arts.
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