Authoritarian governments are improperly using their leverage over media to limit public debate about government actions and punish journalists and media owners who dispute government claims. The ruling parties directly attempt to limit media freedom through censorship and legal restrictions of printed and digital media. In Hungary for example the ruling party altered the constitutional protection of freedom of speech and of the press through complex and extensive media legislation adopted in 2010. In other cases, the government indirectly increases its control over information in the EU and abroad, by threatening journalists, hampering their work or simply buying up media outlets to promote government policies. Freedom House rates Turkey as "not free" and Hungary only as "partly free" in the 2014 Freedom of the Press Report.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom will discuss with journalists and press freedom activists the threats they face, but even more so the risk of deepening the political and social polarization already existing in these countries.
Attila Mong, Lyle and Corrine Nelson International Fellow, Stanford University; Freelance writer and radio reporter, Hungary
Sevgi Akarçeşme, Journalist, Zaman Daily
Jean Paul Marthoz, Committee to Protect Journalists
Julie Cantalou, European Affairs Manager, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom