Instead of reporting the news, the activist media is producing news and becoming political actors, says analyst Erik Tóth.
“In the modern political environment, the role of new types of media has become more important and the genre of activist journalism has emerged,” wrote Erik Tóth, deputy research director at the Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ), in a op-ed published in Magyar Nemzet.
In Hungary, after the 1990 regime change, the survival of post-communist structures meant that the emergence of conservative, right-wing voices was severely limited. The former socialist Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy had dealt with the total lack of media balance – and its composition in favor of the left-liberal side by saying that if you need media, buy your own. Now that a real media balance has been emerging in Hungary over the last 12 years – because the right-wing has finally come on board – many are talking about a media freedom deficit, writes Tóth.
He pointed out that “certain outlets are taking over the role of political parties and acting as public opinion shapers, especially when traditional political groupings are incompetent and powerless, at least in terms of influencing public opinion in a meaningful way.”
As Tóth warns: “…this also changes the basic function of the media: it is characterized by news production instead of news reporting.”
The analyst explained that in the past ten to fifteen years, the consumption of internet and social media by citizens in Western countries has increased significantly, at the expense of traditional media (print press, television). Internet portals provide their readers with a large amount of information, and readers spend less time reading an article and trying to find out the accuracy of the news, he explained.
According to Tóth, another important pillar of the “fake news press” is the opinion bubbles that form on social media.
He explained that “international think tanks and pseudo-civil society organizations linked to George Soros, which publish annual reports on the media situation in the states, play a major role in the creation of this preconception. One such example is the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders, an organization funded by Soros foundations.”
“The activist media’s activities therefore also include damaging the international image of countries, raising the rule of law, securing support for the media and the pseudo-civil society organizations that support them, influencing public opinion, organizing demonstrations and mass movements, promoting gender ideology, and political thematization,” he added.
Featured photo via MTVA/Bizományosi: Róka László