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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 deteriorating of the media environment and a pro-government biased centralization of the market.


  • 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.
  • Works to counter increasing Russian and Chinese influence in the country, publishing investigations about surveillance technology.
  • Covered 2022 parliamentary election; interviewed opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay, breaking news about his 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.



January – December 2022

  • Website: 8 million visits; 11.5 million page views
  • Facebook: 47.8 million video views; 9.8 million engaged users
  • YouTube: 18.7 million views; 276,000 subscribers
  • Instagram: 43,000 video views; 2,400 followers

Updated: April 2023

Media Climate

  • Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks Hungary 85th out of 180 countries.

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