MDIF CEO Harlan Mandel penned an op-ed for the EUObserver, a Brussels-based news site, to draw attention to problem of media capture in Europe, a situation when governments and business interests collude to control and manipulate the flow of news and information.
The op-ed identified Hungary as the benchmark for capture, showing how its government and pro-government entities systematically and methodically challenge independent media through a combination of controversial media reforms, preferential distribution of state advertising and a slew of commercial media buyouts. This prompted a reply by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office. Harlan Mandel then published a reply to the government’s reply.
The op-ed referenced a report by Marius Dragomir, Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society at the Central European University, analyzing media capture in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. Published by MDIF, “Media Capture in Europe” exposes the extent of the phenomenon and shows how it is undermining democracy in many parts of Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe.