The Hungarian Free Press is an English-language online newspaper offering informed opinion on current events in East/Central Europe. While we focus primarily on Hungarian political news, we also aim to explore broader regional trends, as well as diaspora-related issues. Our paper seeks to build on the longstanding tradition of free, democratic discourse in European coffee houses and aims to develop into a dynamic and energetic news source for inquisitive English readers interested in the political, cultural and economic pressures in Hungary, whilst offering succinct, pertinent information and insightful commentary on broader developments in this region.
The Hungarian Free Press is a non-partisan news source, with all of our content (whether news pieces or op-eds) reflecting the following liberal democratic values:
- Social justice for all, and especially for those living on the margins of society;
- Cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, and a respect for individual creativity and ingenuity;
- A respect for minority rights, including those of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious or sexual minorities;
- Support for rigorous checks and balances within our political system;
- Healthy, democratic public institutions where a plurality of backgrounds and views are accepted and encouraged and where party interests do not override public interest;
- The responsible and sustainable use of our natural resources in business practices, when implementing public policy and in all activity.
A growing segment of Hungary’s media has either shied away from defending these core liberal democratic values in its reporting, or has come under the political influence of the Orbán government, which enjoys a supermajority in parliament, has declared the termination of liberal democracy as one of its primary objectives and exerts unprecedented control over the judiciary, the public service, cultural and educational institutions, as well as the press.
American President John F. Kennedy was among the most articulate in expressing the media’s role in the long-term survival of multiparty democracy. Kennedy, addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 27th, 1961 noted:
“Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed–and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment– the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- -not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants”–but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion” (Source: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library).
There is a pressing need to disseminate non-partisan information and thoughtful reflection on developments in Hungary to the broader international community. The Hungarian Free Press aims to serve as one such vehicle for values-driven democratic expression and discourse, as well as a platform for activist journalism.
The Hungarian Free Press is published by Presszo Media Inc., a federally incorporated company based in Ottawa, Canada. While HFP serves an English-speaking readership, Hungarian readers are encouraged to explore the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap, Presszo Media Inc.’s Hungarian-language online journal.