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Opposition Media reportedly Receive HUF 1 Billion in Foreign Funding Annually

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.06.26.

At least HUF 1B (EUR 2.5M) worth of foreign funding per year is received by opposition media critical of the government, Bánk Levente Boros, Director of Political Analysis at the Nézőpont Institute, presented findings at an event titled “Freedom of the Press in Hungary 2023.”

He emphasized the need for transparency, suggesting a mandatory self-reporting mechanism to disclose details such as who, when, from where, and for what purpose foreign funds are received by media outlets. Mr. Boros criticized the lack of transparency among opposition media, claiming that only a few politically significant outlets were willing to disclose their foreign funding sources.

According to him, opposition media have remained profitable despite financial challenges, reporting approximately four billion forints in profits for 2023.

He argued that this profitability contradicts claims of suppression and underscores the political relevance and financial stability of these media outlets.

The discussion also touched upon criticism from Miklós Hargitai, former president of the  Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ), who raised concerns about the Nézőpont Institute’s investigation into foreign subsidies for press products. Bánk Levente Boros defended the institute’s scrutiny, particularly in a global context where international influences on media can shape public opinion and potentially impact national sovereignty.

Tamás Lánczi. Photo: MTI / Balogh Zoltán

Tamás Lánczi, President of the Office for the Protection of Sovereignty, delivered a speech highlighting broader geopolitical challenges facing Hungary and other nations. He warned of threats to national sovereignty amid global transformations, including state collapses, disrupted political constellations, and strained trade relations.

Mr. Lánczi characterized the current era as a struggle between sovereignists defending national interests and globalists advocating for international integration.

He emphasized the role of his office in protecting Hungarian sovereignty, asserting that attacks on Hungarian laws and institutions ultimately target national sovereignty itself. Tamás Lánczi argued that defending Hungarian values and identifying foreign-backed entities influencing public opinion are essential safeguards in this geopolitical climate. Mr. Lánczi underscored the non-authoritative role of his office, utilizing publicity to raise awareness about foreign-funded groups, including NGOs and political actors, active in shaping Hungarian public discourse.

In addressing media integrity, he criticized what he perceives as a lack of transparency in media narratives, particularly concerning narratives aligned with foreign interests. He announced forthcoming analyses of disinformation narratives related to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, aimed at exposing narratives contrary to Hungarian interests.

Judit Járai. Photo: MTI / Balogh Zoltán

Regarding journalistic integrity, Mr. Lánczi praised recipients of the Jótollú Hungarian Journalist Award (Jótollú Magyar Újságíró Díj), highlighting the importance of ethical standards in journalism.

He distinguished between legitimate journalists and those engaging in disinformation campaigns or representing foreign interests, arguing that identifying such actors does not infringe on media freedom but rather protects it by promoting transparency.

The event culminated in the presentation of the Good Hungarian Journalist Award to Judit Járai, recognizing her distinguished career as a foreign policy journalist and war correspondent. Ms. Járai’s journalistic achievements, including coverage of significant historical events and interviews with notable figures, underscored the role of journalism in informing the public and shaping historical narratives.

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Zoltán Kovács added that, "we are not surprised by this latest slander."Continue reading

Via MTI; Featured Image: Pixabay

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