More than 500 pro-government media outlets in Hungary are to be brought together in a single umbrella group called the Central European Press and Media Foundation (CEPMF) with the aim of preserving ‘national values.’ According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the move threatens the very survival of media pluralism in Hungary.
Already the proprietor of a majority of Hungarian media outlets, the CEPMF belongs to Gabor Liszkay, a close ally of the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
“How far will Viktor Orbán go?”, asked Pauline Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s European Union and Balkans desk. “The merger of so many media outlets that support the same party has not been seen in Hungary since the end of the communist regime and is unprecedented in the European Union. Such a level of concentration makes us fear for the very survival of media pluralism in Hungary.”
This latest attack on media pluralism in Hungary comes after László Puch, the owner and publisher of the Budapest Sunday newspaper Vasarnapi Hirek, announced that the weekly is to be closed after 33 years and merged with opposition and conservative newspaper Népszava.