Reporters Without Borders: minimal improvement for press freedom in Hungary

May 03. 2023. – 10:41 AM



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Hungary's performance has improved from 59.8 to 62.96 points in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders, an international journalists' organisation. The report is released every year on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, and Hungary has now moved up from 85th to 72nd place out of 180 countries, but still remains in the "problematic" category, according to the report.

The document points out that the situation in Hungary is quite good in terms of legislation, socio-cultural environment and the safety of journalists, but particularly bad in political and economic terms. Regarding the latter, it is described that a power structure has gained control over a large part of the public by organising most of the press into KESMA (Central European Press and Media Foundation). They also write that 'the sustainable funding of independent media is threatened by the discriminatory allocation of state advertising to pro-government outlets'. Despite this, the improvement in Hungary this year can largely be explained by the fact that the media's economic situation is significantly better than it was last year.

Hungary has now made a significant jump for the second year in a row (from 92nd overall to 72nd), mainly due to the drastic deterioration of the press situation in several countries around the world. According to the report, there are now only eight countries in which the press can operate in good conditions, all of them in Europe. Norway, Ireland and Denmark top the list, with Vietnam, China and North Korea at the bottom.

This year's report highlights that the state of the press around the world is made more difficult by the proliferation of fake content, where political actors produce and disseminate false content in order to achieve their goals. They write: "The difference is being blurred between true and false, real and artificial, facts and artifices, jeopardising the right to information. The unprecedented ability to tamper with content is being used to undermine those who embody quality journalism and weaken journalism itself."

The full report along with the list is available here and our past articles on the situation of the independent press in Hungary can be found here, here and here.

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