Even a considerable number of opposition voters recognized some of the often unfounded or false statements about the opposition made by the ruling Fidesz party to be credible during the election campaign, according to a recent survey by left-leaning Dimenzió Média Alapítvány.
The representative survey conducted at the end of March found that a wide range of voters were exposed to false political messages, and were unable to verify their authenticity due to one-sided reporting of the Hungarian public media.
For example, even 30% of opposition voters believed the allegation that the opposition alliance’s candidate for prime minister, Péter Márki-Zay, would take Hungary to war. Among undecided voters, twice as many, 61 percent, believed the ruling parties’ unfounded claim.
The poll also asked whether voters considered the statement that “the left would take away the 13th month pension” to be true, with 20 percent of opposition voters saying it was true, compared with 45 percent of those without a party affiliation.
According to the survey, the fundamental right of citizens in Hungary to be informed without interference is severely compromised in the current Hungarian media system in place since 2010, where both the ownership structure and state-controlled advertising spending are dictated by the political interests of the Orbán government.
Ferenc Vicsek, one of the authors of the survey, said: “It is impossible to talk about free and democratic elections in a place where a large proportion of citizens, a proportion large enough to have a significant influence on the election, do not encounter messages from some of the participants in the political contest, including those that can refute in time the false claims spread about them.”
In the featured photo: Former PM candidate of the six-party opposition allaince, Péter Márki-Zay. Photo via Ágnes Kunhalmi’s Facebook page