For Hungary’s independent and left-wing media, the victory of Viktor Orbán’s far-right Fidesz party in last weekend’s election means four more years under siege.
As partners of the Progressive International’s media pillar, the Wire, we condemn Orbán’s long history of hostility towards independent and left-wing media, including our fellow Wire partner Mérce — and join in solidarity with our Hungarian allies as they face renewed challenges in the years to come.
Viktor Orbán’s years in power have been defined by the systematic decimation of basic press freedoms, and the construction and domination of a Fidesz-aligned national media apparatus. Through the destructive 2011 Media Law, the purchase and consolidation of media outlets under the power of Orbán-aligned corporations, the closing and takeover of independent outlets through political and economic means, and direct attacks on dissenting voices, Fidesz and its allies have shaped the national media landscape in their own image, no doubt a significant contributor to their recent electoral victory.
In this hostile environment, Mérce has maintained independence not just from the state, but also from capital. With its editorial independence based on a fully reader-supported model, Mérce has remained a critical voice for those made voiceless under Fidesz rule.
Unapologetically devoted to justice and equality, Mérce remains committed to reporting on “the problems of Hungary’s abandoned peoples, the vulnerability of workers… the daily problems of those living in poverty, and the system that creates and maintains that vulnerability… health and education for all, decent housing, the fight against Roma exclusion, and for the equality of women.” As they state in their mission: “We stand up for the oppressed and the discriminated against, and we support the communities and organizations that fight against social inequalities, and those who fight for a fairer Hungary, from either party politics or civil life.”
As Fidesz extends its hold on power, Mérce and others committed to the freedom of the Hungarian press find themselves at ever greater risk, even as their mission becomes more critical by the day. We extend our solidarity to them in the fight against repression, and the struggle for a different media and politics.
A2larm.cz, Czech Republic
Jacobin Magazin (GER), Germany
Outras Palavras, Brazil
Arena Publications, Australia
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