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Is the internet free in Hungary?

Is the internet free in Hungary?

In addition to the recent report, there are further news about Hungary’s reputation concerning the online freedom of speech. American human rights organization Freedom House shared some thoughts about that on Tuesday on their website. They stated that more and more governments manipulate social media and persecute the opposition online, which means a huge threat to democracy. They have also examined Hungary among the examples.

As MTI reported, Freedom House concluded a study about 65 countries concerning the security of online rights, including Hungary, which was evaluated as a “free country” in this field.

The organization wrote that in Hungary, it is typical that the government manipulates people through public media and the censorship of online media undertaken by the authorities occurs at times.

The detailed report raises its voice against the marginalization of independent online news sites in the Hungarian market. Moreover, the new anti-terror law provides more power to the authorities to force the delivery of user data by private enterprises.

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Freedom House, however, also emphasized, that the internet is still relatively free in Hungary, and the government does not block entire websites for political reasons, and, also, does not filter online content, as Napi.hu highlighted.

This year was the seventh in a row to witness the decrease of internet users’ freedom worldwide. According to the human rights organization, 30 of the examined countries have governments that constantly influence online communities in 2017. It increased by seven from last year’s 23.

These governments hire paid commenters or trolls, and they also apply automatic posts and fake news sites to spread information and opinions favorable for them.

Freedom House claims that these tactics involving manipulation and distortion played a vital role in the elections of at least 18 countries, including the United States. Freedom House’s chairman Michael Abramowitz stated that though these political methods were invented in Russia and China, they have become worldwide phenomena by today.

Project coordinator Sanja Kelly added that these manipulative contents are becoming more difficult to track, so it is more difficult to counter them.

China has been leading the list of most manipulative countries online for three years, followed by Syria and Etyopia.

The Chinese government has increased online censorship last year, and taken measures against online anonymity. Several people were taken to jail because of their different opinion expressed on the internet.

The report also mentioned the Keyboard Armies of the Philippines, which refers to the phenomenon that those who support Rodrigo Duerte’s controversial war on drugs may receive 10 dollars per day. Turkey was the other country that received special attention, as about 6,000 hired commenters await anyone who express their support for the opposition online.

Russia and the USA are also worth mentioning in this sense.

“Though America’s online community managed to preserve its dynamics and diversity, the impact of intentional spreading of disinformation and propaganda content are still significant. Journalists arguing President Donald Trump’s opinion suffer scandalously harsh harassment on the internet,” Freedom House added.

Source: Freedomhouse.org, Napi.hu

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