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RFE/RL's Hungarian Service: Szabad Európa

Szabad Európa, a 21st-century update of RFE/RL’s storied Hungarian Service, provides objective reporting via digital platforms in an EU country that has witnessed a decade-long decline in diverse media voices and a pro-government biased centralization of the market.

Fast Facts

  • Closed in 1993 and relaunched September 2020 because of deteriorating and polarized media climate.
  • The Service operates digitally via its website, social media platforms, podcasts, and newsletter.
  • Podcast 'Szelfi' (Selfie) won a Chance Lab Association award (2021 & 2022) for supporting equality.
  • Covered 2022 parliamentary election; interviewed opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay, breaking news about fears of government interference.
  • Published story that state media conglomerate MTVA twisted reporting; Hungarian courts ruled documents about state media editorial content must be turned over to Service.
  • Broke news Hungary vetoed EU statement criticizing Turkey for human rights advocate Osman Kavala’s life sentence.
  • Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Hungary 85th out of 180 countries.


January, 2021 – December, 2021

  • Website: 10.2 million visits; 15.2 million page views
  • Facebook: 47.1 million video views; 10.1 million engaged users
  • Instagram: 19,500 video views; 1,600 followers

Updated: October 2022

Facts & Stats about Hungary

  • Population: 9.71 million (World Bank estimate, 2021)
  • Most Common Languages: Hungarian
  • Global Freedom Index (Freedom House): Partly Free, 69 out of 100 (2021)
  • Press Freedom Index (RSF): 85 out of 180 (2022)
  • Corruption Index (Transparency Int.): 69 out of 180 (2021)
  • Global Peace Index (IES): 13 out of 163 (2022)
  • Amnesty International: Hungary Report (2021)

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