What is happening in Eastern European countries is a very serious situation, which we define as media capture, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society said to Spanish online newspaper El Diario.
The article looks at how Hungarian ruling party Fidesz became illiberal, reviews the clashes between the two countries and the EU, and also discusses the situation of the media in Hungary and Poland
In the article, Dragomir explains the concept of media capture, of which Hungary is a “textbook case.” He says that in Hungary, the public narrative is nearly totally controlled, as the government, together with a few powerful companies controls the media. The problem goes beyond the media and concerns, for example, the justice system as well.
Dragomir thinks the steps the EU has taken so far regarding Poland and Hungary are “a disaster,” although with the debate on the linking of EU funding to compliance with the rule of law, the EU's position has recently become much stronger. Yet he believes this may have come too late.
Discussing the broader geographical context, Dragomir says Hungary has the worst situation, followed by Poland. The situation in Slovenia, he says, is unexpected because the media there had a very high level of independence, yet the process of media capture is happening there, too. The Czech Republic also faces a bad situation with the country’s prime minister being a key media owner.