Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe

Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe

Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe

Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe

Synopsis

This book compares media and political systems in East-Central as well as in Western Europe in order to identify the reasons possibly responsible for the extensive and intensive party control over the media.

Excerpt

In April 2011, the local government of Budapest renamed the city’s Republic Square after the late Pope John-Paul ii. Hungary’s new constitution, adopted by parliament in the same month and valid as of January 2012, changed the country’s official denomination, until that point ‘Hungarian Republic’, to ‘Hungary’. in March 2012, the statue of Mihály Károlyi, first President of the Hungarian Republic from 1918 to 1919, was removed from Kossuth Square in Budapest, where it had been standing since 1975 near the House of Parliament. Lastly, an amendment to the Criminal Code passed in June 2012 imposed a one-year prison sentence on those using “offensive” expressions to describe Hungary’s historical ‘Holy Crown’.

These symbolic moves were followed by many others after the victory of the Fidesz/Christian Democrats party alliance in the 2010 legislative and municipal elections. With the support of 53% of those who voted, the alliance won, under Hungary’s mixed election system, 68% of seats in parliament. Fidesz party leader and prime minister Viktor Orbán immediately declared the victory a “revolution at the voting booths” and launched radical changes. Among other things, the new coalition solemnly adopted a Declaration of National Co-operation, which was posted in all public authority premises and which defines such joint national goals as “work, home, family, health and order”. Parliament’s new majority passed a new constitution, called the Base Law, with references to God, Christianity and the Holy Crown, as well as to “faith, hope and love”. It also adopted a new Church Act which significantly re-

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