The Executive Board of the International Press Institute (IPI), the world’s oldest global network of journalists, editors and publishers for press freedom, is holding its semi-annual meeting in Budapest on February 17-18 to shine a spotlight on the challenges facing media freedom in Hungary ahead of the upcoming general election.
During a two-day visit to Budapest, the Executive Board will conduct a short media freedom mission to raise its concerns with a range of stakeholders. Board members will meet with Zoltán Kovács, the government’s international spokesman and secretary of state for international communication and relations. They will also meet with Péter Márki-Zay, the united opposition candidate for prime minister in the 2022 national elections, and Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest.
The Executive Board – which is made up of leading editors and journalists from five continents – will also meet with Hungarian journalists and editors from independent news media to hear about the ongoing challenges facing press freedom in the country.Board members will also speak with experts to assess the landscape for media pluralism ahead of the upcoming election. IPI will produce a report outlining the main challenges and setting out recommendations for improving the situation after the April 3 election.
Khadija Patel, chair of the IPI Executive Board, said: “Media freedom in Hungary should be high on the agenda ahead of the 2022 election. While we could have chosen to meet in many places, the IPI Executive Board members chose to come to Budapest for this year’s meeting due to the global concern about the ongoing challenges facing independent journalism in Hungary. We look forward to meeting with representatives of both the government and the opposition to understand the main challenges facing the independent press and to seek commitments on positive reforms moving forward.”
Topics raised during the meetings will include: the continued erosion of media pluralism; government interference in the media market; illegal surveillance of Hungarian journalists using Pegasus spyware; pervasive exclusion of independent journalists from accessing information; restrictions on journalists reporting inside hospitals during the pandemic; the politicisation of media regulatory bodies; and unequal allocation of state advertising to media.
Culled IPI Website