The media is a strategic sector and a matter of sovereignty, Balázs Orbán, the prime minister’s director of policymaking, told a conference on Wednesday, adding that media dominance heavily influences a country’s way of thinking.
Addressing a conference organised by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium (MCC), Orbán, who also heads the university’s board of trustees, said that 70-80% of media in Western countries were owned by the state. Before 2010, this ratio was lower than 24% in Hungary, he said, adding that this put the country in a position of “terrible vulnerability”. Now this ratio has increased to more than 50%, Orbán said. Yet “Western liberals” slam Hungary for a state of affairs which is “quite natural” in their own countries, he added. Orbán said media owners included Hungarian foundations, associations, individuals, including conservatives, socialists, liberals, and Hungarian churches, as well as the Hungarian state. He added that Hungary’s media market had undergone an organic and healthy transformation. He insisted that in the Western media world, media and ideology were, “sadly”, becoming more and more heavily intertwined, and he said Hungarians, post-1990, had known all too well how the media could become “the handmaiden of certain ideologies”.