D.he organization “Reporters Without Borders” has for the first time included a head of government from the European Union in its new list of “enemies of press freedom”: the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “Since Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party came to power in 2010, they have gradually brought Hungary’s media landscape under their control,” criticized the journalists’ association in Berlin on Monday.
“The public service broadcasters were centralized in the state media holding MTVA, which also includes Hungary’s only news agency MTI,” the organization wrote in a statement. “The regional press has been entirely owned by Orbán-friendly entrepreneurs since summer 2017. In autumn 2018, almost 500 media companies close to the government were combined in a holding company in order to coordinate their reporting centrally. “
“New names in all regions of the world”
The list of “enemies of press freedom” includes 37 heads of state and government who embody the ruthless repression of press freedom in a particularly drastic way. In addition to Orbán, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who repeatedly incites against the media, and the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are also listed again. The association accuses him of crimes against humanity, among other things because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam is also new to the list: “In the Chinese special administrative region, the Apple Daily newspaper, a symbol of freedom of the press, had to cease operations in June.”
The list also includes many long-standing “enemies of press freedom”, such as the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, the Chinese head of state and party leader Xi Jinping, the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad and the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
“New names have been added in all regions of the world. Their methods of suppression are different, but they serve the same purpose: to prevent critical reporting at all costs, ”said“ Reporter ”managing director Christian Mihr. “This affects journalists who boldly continue their research, but also the population, who are thus denied access to independent information, which is so important in times of a global pandemic. It is also frightening that those responsible often get away with impunity despite brutal crimes. ”The journalists’ association has published the list at irregular intervals since 2001.