Several employees of the the public MTVA network described the Guardian how the ” channels pumped out government messaging, and at times false stories, with the goal of winning support for the prime minister’s anti-immigration message.”
The journalists recalled how the network would focus on negative stories about refugees and migrants, linking them to crime and terrorism. Even on the eve of polling, there was no letup, as the M1 channel incorrectly reported a van driving into a crowd of people in Münster, Germany, as an Islamist terrorist attack, the Guardian writes.
“I’d never experienced anything like that, even at MTVA: it was a clear lie,” said one of the journalists, on condition of anonymity.
“I think it created an atmosphere of fear. Pavlov reflexes have been created for words like danger, terrorism, migrants, opposition, Soros and Brussels,” the journalist said, adding that “tolerance is regularly criticised, while anti-immigration sentiment is presented as the only valid opinion”.
The journalists believe the anti-migrant messages often come directly from the government, the Guardian writes. “Sometimes the editor will come into the office on the phone and dictate a whole story to us, word for word. We do not know who is on the other end of the phone,” said a journalist.
Documents sent in error to junior MTVA staff and seen by the Guardian appear to confirm direct governmental involvement. Editorial directives produced by staff at the prime minister’s office are cut and pasted to give journalists talking points with which to carry out character assassinations of Hungarian citizens who are openly critical of the government.
Source: The Guardian/Hungary Journal