HUNGARY: Unfreedom Monitor Report by Global Voices Advox Report

Report published by Global Voices Advox on 29/04/2023 – accessible here

Authoritarian regimes have long had a complicated relationship with media and communications technologies. The Unfreedom Monitor is a Global Voices Advox research initiative examining the growing phenomenon of networked or digital authoritarianism.

Digital authoritarianism in Hungary is on the rise, motivated by the Hungarian government’s attempts to silence and intimidate critical voices, including independent media workers, civil society organisations, and grassroots movements. Digital technologies are one set of tools used by the government to advance its political strategy: divide and polarise society, generate fear around economic and national security, and make voters believe that the ruling party Fidesz’s narrative is the single source of truth. Their motivation is fueled by the Hungarian government’s identity politics and nation-building tactics.

The report outlines how Hungarian society’s main characteristics can be explained by the country’s economic, social and political history and how the ruling party is able to exploit these characteristics for its own political goals. Since Fidesz came into power, civil society, opposition actors, independent press, and the European Union have regularly documented and raised awareness around how the government has been undermining democracy in the country. Its measures included attacks on civil society and the weakening of the independence of the judiciary. Yet, the Fidesz-led government managed to stay in power for more than a decade.