U.S. launches media fund for Hungary to aid press freedom

In news

The United States said, it would fund rural media outlets in Hungary to help train and equip journalists in defense of an independent media it sees subject to growing pressure and intimidation.

Media Fund

  • The Media Fund is a 527 group, active in U.S. politics, which supported Democrat John Kerry’s campaign for President
  • It was formed in 2002, and is led by Harold M. Ickes, a former aide to President Bill Clinton.
  • According to the New York Times, the Media Fund raised $45 million to run issue ads in key swing states.
  • Media reports speculated that major donors had given up on the organization, and were turning their attention to other, more long-term Democratic projects.

Highlights

  • The moves have alarmed Western partners with the approach of elections, due in April 2018, which he is widely expected to win comfortably.
  • The trend was especially strong in rural Hungary, where government-controlled public media and a handful of outlets friendly to the ruling Fidesz party are the only news sources most people get.
  • The Department of State… seeks a partner for the United States Government who will help educate journalists and aspiring journalists on how to practise their trade

The program offers technical and financial assistance to media outlets, as well as increased local and international exposure, small grants and other tools. They can use the funds after May 2018.

Reduction in number of journalist with freedome

  • There are still independent and opposition media outlets here that are able to practise journalism with broad editorial freedom,” Chargé d’Affaires David Kostelancik said last month at a journalism conference. “That is a good thing.”
  • “However, their numbers are dwindling, and they face challenges in the advertising market that the pro-government outlets do not.
  • They face pressure and intimidation… as a result, fewer and fewer Hungarians are exposed to the robust debate and discussion that is so important – in fact fundamental – to a representative democracy

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