Radio Free Europe announces return to Hungary

Radio Free Europe announces return to Hungary

8 September 2020
Top image: Budapest. Naval under a CC license.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) will relaunch its operations in Hungary to combat what it has called “the country’s steep decline in media freedom”.

The Hungarian service of the US-funded outlet originally operated from Munich during the Cold War, but halted operations in 1993.

In 2019, the company announced its return to the country, and on 8 September, the new Hungarian bureau opened its doors under the leadership of Hungarian journalist Gyula Csak.

Now, the company has announced the reopening of the Hungary bureau amid concerns over the steep decline in media freedom in the country.

“We have an outstanding team of local journalists, and they are determined to be the go-to source for reliable, unbiased news,” said RFE/RL acting President Daisy Sindelar.

Over the past 10 years, the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has taken control of most of Hungary’s press outlets. Hungary’s public state news agency came directly under government supervision in 2011, and by 2019, some 500 private media outlets were under the control of the Central European Press and Media Foundation, a media company with close ties to Orbán.

The announcement marks RFE/RL’s third return to an EU member state, after the outlet announced it would begin working in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018. RFE/RL currently works in more than 20 countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, where media freedom is considered to be restricted or “not fully-developed”.

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