June 06, 2018
In a relatively long article, published June 4th, the New York Times looks into the relationship between Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, and the SDS, the party headed by Janez Janša that gained the most votes in Sunday’s election. Aside from the noting the ideological similarities between the SDS and Fidesz in terms of defending “traditional European values” against immigrants, cultural Marxists, atheists, feminists and so on, the main focus is on how Orban’s allies are using the media in Slovenia and Macedonia to influence politics in these countries.
Here are some excerpts from the text, headlined “Safe in Hungary, Viktor Orban Pushes His Message Across Europe”:
In the past two years, Hungarian businessmen close to Mr. Orban have quietly invested in, or started, a handful of right-wing media outlets in Slovenia and in Macedonia. One, Skandal24, a sensationalist gossip magazine, took aim at some of Mr. Janša’s opponents with salacious, thinly sourced articles. Another, the television channel Nova24TV, ran alarmist reports about migrants — and also got an “exclusive” interview with Mr. Orban in May.
“Janša is exactly the kind of leader Slovenia needs,” Mr. Orban told Nova24TV.
“They [Orban and his allies] are investing in a new kind of political alliance,” said Sandra Basic-Hrvatin, a media researcher at the University of Primorska, and a former member of an independent commission that advised the Slovenian Culture Ministry on media policy. “They’re investing in a media empire to influence elections and to build up a new political force in the E.U.,” added Professor Basic-Hrvatin, who has herself been targeted by Mr. [Peter] Schatz’s [Orban-friendly] outlets because of her criticism.
“Formally speaking, it is not the Hungarian state that is making these investments,” said Milan Kucan, who was president for the first 11 years of Slovenia’s independence. “Formally, these are just Hungarian businessmen. But in reality they act as the long arm of Orban.”