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So took Viktor Orbán, the power of the media in Hungary

a few days ago I picked up a copy of the free newspaper Lokál in the Budapest subway.

Two full-page is occupied by the latest in a series of ”national consultations” that the government sends out to the entire population, where the hungarians asked to 'decide together', this time on the family policy.

”do you Agree that mothers with at least three children should receive special support?” was the question this day. In the past it has been about refugees, and about to ”stop Brussels'.

with prime minister Orbán on a controversial new law, and the law, the opposition call ”slaverilagen” and that gives the employer the right to request that employees set up with the 400 hours of overtime per year.

Unions may not like the law, hit the Orbán fixed, but still, it is in the interest of workers. They get more freedom of choice. The production of eggs can increase. The headline announced that ”the government is on the workers side”.

He did not mention with one word that the law had been added at the request of multinational corporations. No supplementaries were asked. It is just so the prime minister wants to have it. He makes of the principle, never up on interviews, except in the media stroking him stroke.

when Hungary was a soviet satellite state? Many hungarians find it.

For the media that unashamedly acting mouthpiece for Orbán, is becoming more and more threatening in the day to completely drown out the few remaining independent voices.

To change the media landscape has in fact been a priority project of the government party Fidesz ever since it came to power after the 2010 elections.

since Then, Hungary has been classified in the frihetsindex published annually by Freedom House, from 40th place to 87th in the last year.

the Weekly magazine Magyar Narancs is one of the few independent media in Hungary today. Photo: Mickan Palmqvist

in several ways. The first was placed loyal executives in the statsmedier as the big tv company MTV. Then created a new state media council – the age of Fideszmedlemmar – which gave the government direct power over the content of the public service.

Next on the tour was the privately owned media. After the fall of the wall went to the foreign media in and purchased the Hungarian newspapers, radio - and tv-channels. But after the economic crisis of 2008, many people wanted to sell.

In many cases, they found willing buyers among Orbán's friends and acquaintances. For example, his neighbor in his home village Felcsút, the former plumber Lörinc Mészáros, has become one of Hungary's largest media owners, with 18 of the country's largest newspapers and several tv-companies.

less open strategies. An example is Origo, a large news site which, a few years ago, high-class grävjournalistik, including ministers in the Orbán government.

the Takeover took place step by step. First was contacted Origos owner, a German telecommunications company, by the secretary of state János Lázár, who was then Orbán's closest man. He explained that the company, which then negotiated the new telelicenser, should take more account of the government's position. The company allowed themselves to be persuaded to create a ”hot line” between the Origos editorial staff and the government.

Origos editor-in-chief refused to accept the new rules and continued to investigate the secret trips just Lázár was suspected to have done for the taxpayers ' money.

the bångstyrige editor-in-chief and the owner sold the Origo. Purchase finasierades of a cousin of Orbán's former minister of finance. So here he explained his actions:

"We wanted to not that the site would end up in Soros' hands, or of people who wanted to influence policy against the Hungarian government.

the Journalist Viktória Serdült worked at Origo at the time of the takeover.

"I noticed the change immediately," she says. The new managers didn't care if you proposed something, the old employees were ignored. I was at a press conference with Orbán's friend, museum Mária Schmidt, but was told not to ask any questions.

Mrs Serdült chose to resign, as well as the majority of her colleagues. Today is just a handful of the past 80 journalists left and the Origin is a megaphone for the government.

Ferenc lászló is the managing editor of the veckomagasinen Magyar Narancs, which frequently publishes critical articles about prime minister Orbán. Photo: Mickan Palmqvist

was Népszabadság, a oppositionstidning with the fall edition 2015 sold to Mediaworks, a company that has since been taken over by Orbán's old neighbor Lörinc Mészáros.

the Journalist Ferenc László worked at Népszabadság at this time. He remembers the fall of 2016.

" We worked on as usual, with the revelations, including how Fideszpolitikern mr antal Rogán took a state helicopter to a private wedding.

On 6 October we would move. All came to the new premises, but there was just a sign that the newspaper had struck again. No one got any notice.

come at the end of november, when the owners of not less than 476 magazines, sites, and channels at the same time declared that they ”donate” their media to a hitherto unknown foundation with the name Central press and mediastiftelsen.

"I think this was the last step in Orbán's plan to take over the media," says Ferenc László, today the chief editor of the magazine Magyar Narancs.

– It is about to take control. Now we have finally imported the Russian Putin model.

Freesheet Lokál, one of the media who went over to the Orbántrogna mediestiftelsen in the autumn. Photo: Mickan Palmqvist

is the non-profit and led by Gábor Liszkai, one of Orbán's closest. In the board of directors also sits on Orbán's personal lawyer and Miklós Szánthó, the head of a conservative research institutes and pronounced Fideszanhängare.

In an e-mail to DN type Szánthó that the new foundation is explicitly non-neutral – it stands to the right politically and to promote national and christian values.

”First and foremost, it wants to create and maintain a balanced coverage in the media, the foundation owns, for example, by combating the 'fake news' and political correctness.”

the Director considers that the liberal and left-leaning media has had an almost monopoly position in Hungary since the 90's, but this is now corrected.

In fact, the pendulum has swung over the total in just a few years. According to the independent site Átlátszó is more than 500 Hungarian media pro-government today, against only 31 pieces in 2015.

But the attacks against the independent media shows no sign of cease.

András Dezsö, investigative reporter at the site Index, was tried and convicted for that he posted public information on the swede Nathalie Contessa af Successful as had emerged in the Hungarian tv and painted black Sweden. Photo: Mickan Palmqvist

, a well-known investigative journalist. In the spring, when the heads of state tv sent an interview with the Swedish-Hungarian Nathalie Contessa af Successful (DN later interviewed), he decided to investigate the matter.

" She claimed that she was forced to escape from Sweden, that she was not safe there because of all the refugees. She spoke of migrants who do not respect the laws, but at the same time, she was herself a migrant.

In the open Swedish database Lexbase, he found information that the af sand berg had previously been convicted of, inter alia, defamation in Sweden – something that she herself has spoken openly about, among other things, with DN. Index published the data that was widely distributed.

to the police and was told that he was prosecuted for ”misuse of personal information”. In Hungary, we must not publish information from the criminal record without consent – but the law has never previously been used on the aliens.

Dezsö was later convicted and got away with a warning – but has appealed.

" I'm really not particularly concerned. But, it is a signal to us, the independent journalists, if we are to fit us. In addition, they can now point out to me that a convicted criminal.

Budapest. Photo: Mickan Palmqvist

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