According to the latest Freedom House report, internet is "partly free" in Hungary

Internet freedom in Hungary continues to decline. Hungary enjoys high levels of overall connectivity and relatively affordable internet access. While there are few overt restrictions on content in Hungary, the government continues to consolidate its control over the telecommunications and media landscape. During the coverage period, the political opposition experienced significant cyberattacks during their primary elections. Additionally, Parliament extended a “state of danger,” akin to a state of emergency that was originally enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government also blocked state-owned Russian websites in response to a European Council regulation following the invasion. Additionally, the government admitted to purchasing spyware technology, which was allegedly used to target journalists and lawyers.

After taking power in 2010 elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Alliance of Young Democrats–Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz) party pushed through constitutional and legal changes that have allowed it to consolidate control over the country’s independent institutions. More recently, the Fidesz-led government has moved to institute policies that hamper the operations of opposition groups, journalists, universities, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) whose perspectives it finds unfavorable.

Key developments between June 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022

  • The cost of fixed broadband and mobile broadband internet access in terms of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita continued to decline according to some measurement sources (see A2).
  • In January 2022, 4iG, a company whose owners have ties to Orbán, purchased mobile and internet service provider DIGI’s operations in Hungary. Then, in August 2022, after the coverage period it further consolidated its position in the market, purchasing Vodafone’s operation in the country (see A4).
  • In March 2022, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hungary complied with a European Union (EU) order, which compelled member states to block websites of Russian state-owned media outlets in an effort to prevent war propaganda (see B1).
  • During the opposition primaries held in the autumn of 2021, the election servers and media outlets covering the results of the election were targeted by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks (see B8 and C8).
  • In May 2022, the government again extended the state of danger, which includes harsh penalties for scaremongering and allows the government to pass decrees, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine (see C1 and C3).
  • In July 2021, an investigation revealed that Hungarians had been targeted with spyware sold by NSO Group, an Israeli company. Forensic analyses confirmed that the spyware had been installed on the mobile devices of at least three journalists (see C5).

HCLU contributed to the country report. The full version can be accessed here.

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