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Author: Szabolcs Vörös

In the footsteps of Viktor Orbán’s invincibility

Viktor Orbán’s thoughts about the Hungarian people almost always appear in his speeches. If you search for the term "Hungarian people" on Orbán’s personal site, a peculiar universe unfolds in front of your eyes. Certainly, his target is not the liberal Budapest intelligentsia, but rather ordinary Hungarians, a group that Orbán knows best – and grants him victory.

Whatever the expression means, Hungary has degraded into a “partly-free” democracy in recent years according to Freedom House. We are now both geographically and politically halfway between Germany and Belarus. Our democratic institutions still stand but they are like houses whose only renovation has been the façade – they look nice from the street but if one enters, destruction is obvious. This is because the caretaker was not appointed as the result of the residents’ trust but that of the local real estate tycoon. According to the 2022 World Press Freedom Index, Hungary’s media ranks 85th, behind Guinea and ahead of Israel. It was 23rd in 2010. No other country has slid down about five places on an annual basis.

July 14, 2022 - Szabolcs Vörös

A clockwork orange

The media landscape in Hungary has all but collapsed, with nearly all major Hungarian online and print media in the hands of the government or pro-government forces. Only a few remaining independent sources exist, and they do so under constant threat.

There is a weekly news magazine in Hungary. It is called Figyelő. When they meet foreign colleagues, its journalists like to refer to it as the Observer (which is the English translation of the word figyelő) – it sounds dignified. On Thursdays, the day that the paper is published, everybody awaits the big story that will land on Figyelő’s front page. It was known as a reliable source of exclusive information, often prompting an official response to its stories. This was the case until the end of 2016.

September 1, 2018 - Szabolcs Vörös

If we act, Russia might not react

Interview with Kersti Kaljulaid, the President of Estonia. Interviewer: Szabolcs Vörös

June 13, 2018 - Kersti Kaljulaid Szabolcs Vörös

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