Hungary’s assault on media freedom threatens rule of law, report warns

By Miquel Sánchez

In a recent report, NGO Human Rights Watch highlighted the Hungarian government’s repeated attacks on media freedom and pluralism, which constitutes a significant blow to the country’s rule of law. The report, titled “‘I Can’t Work As A Journalist’: The Systematic Undermining of Media Freedom in Hungary,” details the obstacles faced by independent journalists under Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s administration.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Hungarian government has dismantled media freedom and pluralism since coming to power in 2010. The Fidesz government took  control over media regulatory bodies, influencing public service broadcasters, and financially rewarded pro-government outlets. As a result, independent and investigative journalists encounter surveillance, threats, and limited access to information, while facing smear campaigns in pro-government media.

The European Union should  acknowledge this assault on the media as part of Hungary’s broader erosion of the rule of law and take decisive action, said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The report advocates for invoking Article 7 of the EU Treaty, which allows for measures to be taken against member states that violate fundamental EU values.

Furthermore, Human Rights Watch emphasises the urgent need for the EU Council to advance scrutiny under Article 7 and adopt specific recommendations to address Hungary’s disregard for democratic principles. With Hungary set to assume the rotating EU Council presidency in July 2024, swift action is deemed crucial to combat democratic regression. Moreover, the proposal for a European Media Freedom Act, currently under negotiation, aims to establish robust protections for media pluralism and independence within the EU. 

As discussions continue in the European Parliament and Council, there’s a crucial opportunity to enact legislation that safeguards democratic principles and journalist rights across member states.

Report available at:

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Hungary, please visit:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top