Government official: Media becoming political player

The press has lost its role of keeping the public informed and instead is turning into a political player amid today's technology-driven media landscape, a government official told an international conference on Thursday.

Hungary’s right-wing government “is often falsely accused” of having eliminated media plurality, the free press and the diversity of opinion, Balazs Orban told the conference on freedom of expression organised by Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), adding, however, that “nothing could be further from the truth”.

Orban said this “grim picture of Hungary depicted mainly by the left-liberal wing” was a “typical symptom of the press’s growing political role”.

As regards the rise of online media, Orban said that though technology made people’s lives easier, it also posed challenges. Advances in technology, he said “have led to the rise of a new intellectual fashion, and liberalism has surrendered to this intellectual headwind”.

He said progressive liberals believed it was their duty to “enlighten” people, and the media’s job was to “represent the liberal political agenda rather than to provide credible reporting and preserve the diversity of opinion”.

Now that the new liberal media “has clearly involved itself in political and ideological battles”, it has become the job of “the few remaining classical liberal media outlets and conservative media” to keep the public informed and “enforce the sanctity of news”, Orban said.

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