The NGO Reporters have listed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Without Borders as “press predators”, heads of state and government who have drastically suppressed press freedom. Orban is the first leader of an EU member state on the list that also includes Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) started compiling the list of “enemies of press freedom” in 2001. The most recent edition was dated 2016, so it has now been updated. One of the 17 new names on the list is that of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
“Since Orbán and his Fidesz party returned to power in Hungary in 2010, they have gradually brought the media landscape under their control,” RSF said.
“Public radio has been centralized in the MTVA, the umbrella organization of the Hungarian public broadcasters, which also includes the news agency MTI. Since the summer of 2017, the regional press has been completely in the hands of pro-government entrepreneurs. In the autumn of 2018, nearly 500 loyalists were media companies in one holding, to centrally coordinate their reporting.”
Orbán is the first leader of an EU member state on the RSF list. The list also includes 36 other heads of state and government who embody drastic repression of press freedom. In addition to Orbán, new names also include Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The list also includes two women for the first time: Carrie Lam, head of government in Hong Kong, and Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh since 2009.
“New names have been added in all regions of the world,” says Christian Mihr of RSF. “The methods of the leaders on the list are different, but they all have the same goal: to prevent critical reporting at all costs. It is also alarming that despite their brutal actions, those responsible often go unpunished.”