Episode 4: Rewriting History in Hungary

When Viktor Orbán became prime minister of Hungary in 2010, only a few media outlets had a pro-government stance. By 2018, nearly 500 news organizations followed the editorial line of the government or were directly or indirectly owned by Orbán’s party. Independent media is almost extinct.

The lack of dissident voices has allowed Orbán to rewrite history and push a narrative of Hungary as a bastion of European values under siege by immigrants and imagined villains, like billionaire George Soros. Orbán’s media control is at the forefront of his effort to replace what he calls “liberal democracy” with a “21st-century Christian democracy.”

GroundTruth Fellow Quentin Aries traveled to Budapest to speak with some of the few remaining independent journalists in the country, as well as former reporters and editors of now defunct publications to understand how Orbán took over the country’s media landscape. In Brussels, Aries interviewed prominent Hungarian politicians and European Union representatives that explain how this media takeover is seen outside its borders and why the European Union has remained mostly silent about this issue.

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