Haraszti sees threats from ‘three-layered’ media system

Hungary has developed a “three-layered” media system in which the news is provided by three main sources: state-influenced TV and radio stations, a disappearing print sector, and freely distributed online media, human rights activist and former dissident Miklós Haraszti said at the opening of a conference on the Hungarian media on November 15.

Haraszti noted that a tendency toward this type of system can be observed in other post-Soviet countries. He cautioned that because 70-90 percent of the Hungarian populace gets their news from broadcast, the system allows “propaganda” from the government to dominate the news landscape.

Haraszti fought for freedom of expression under communism and later served as a member of Parliament for the Free Democrats and then as the OSCE’s lead official on media freedom.

Haraszti was speaking at a conference organized by Standards Media Monitor and CivilMédia, held November 15-16 at the Open Society Archives in Budapest. The conference, entitled “The Hungarian media system in Europe – civil and European expectations on media policy” brought together media experts, journalists, academics and civil society groups to discuss the media situation in Hungary and the concerns raised by the country’s 2010 media laws.