Freedom of the Press

Hungary

Hungary

Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

23

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

8

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

13

Despite an occasional lapse, as when members of the ruling party applied pressure to the national newspaper Magyar Hirlap, the print press is lively and diversified. Pro-government newspapers receive preference in advertising from state-owned companies and better access to government information. About 70 percent of radio and TV stations--220 commercial TV outlets and 30 private radio stations--are privately owned. Three of five national TV channels are state-owned. State media are generally biased in their coverage of political issues. The 1996 media law requires ruling and opposition parties to share appointments to the boards overseeing state television and radio. With changes of government in recent years, TV staffs have been replaced en masse. Critics charge that the present government has manipulated the law by approving boards composed solely of its supporters and has thereby gained undue influence over hiring and reporting. Others suggest that the law itself is flawed. Radio C, Hungary's first all-Roma radio station, received a permanent broadcasting license.