Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, RSF in French), one of the leading organisations defending the rights of journalists and promoting the freedom of information, has published its annual index evaluating the degree of press freedom in 180 countries and territories.
Compared to the results of the previous year, Hungary’s ranking fell 2 places. RSF explained that
“2019 was relatively quiet year in the Hungarian media”
and the ownership structure did not show significant changes. The organisation also added that, in 2019, the government’s control over the media was strengthened by the re-election of the Media Council.
The Hungarian media landscape was dominated by the pro-government media foundation, the Central European Press and Media Foundation (abbreviated as KESMA in Hungarian) and independent journalists had rather limited access to information.
The top 4 countries with the most considerable press freedom are all Nordic countries: Norway (being in first place for the fourth year in a row), Finland, Denmark, Sweden. They are followed by the Netherlands, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Switzerland, New Zealand and Portugal.
The complete list is available on the organisation’s website.
Together with countries such as Serbia (93rd), Ukraine (96th) and Bulgaria (111th), Hungary is among the last 10 European countries on the list.
The organisation identified a correlation between the countries’ response to the current coronavirus pandemic and the degree of media freedom. According to Christophe Deloire, the secretary-general of RSF,
“We are entering a decisive decade for journalism linked to crises that affect its future. The coronavirus pandemic illustrates the negative factors threatening the right to reliable information, and is itself an exacerbating factor.”