Hungarian Government Spent €23 Million on Anti-Immigrant Advertising in 2017

After obtaining documents through a freedom of information request to the Office of the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Hungarian media watchdog and investigative journalism NGO Atlatszo claims that the Hungarian government has spent some €23 million (HUF 7.2 billion) on anti-Soros and anti-EU propaganda advertising campaigns between April and July of this year.

While the organization says that the documents they eventually received from the Prime Minister’s Office were barely legible and impossible to convert into digital format using specialized software, the numbers were finally crunched by Atlatszo and showed that almost a third of this particular campaign budget, some €7 million (HUF 2.1 billion) , went to Mediaworks, a media company owned by Lőrinc Mészáros, who is allegedly a close friend of Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán.

Hungary’s Prime Minister recently vowed to fight a EU court decision to enforce refugee quotas for EU member states and first began anti-migrant and fear-mongering rhetoric in 2015. That year, the Hungarian government ran an extensive billboard campaign throughout the country, in an attempt to send a message to those considering immigrating. The billboard gimmick was an an extension of a national debate on immigration and terrorism at the time, in which Orbán and the Fidesz party were promoting a hostile stance towards non-Hungarians.

The Prime Minister has also recently said that Hungary has plans to build a border wall to fend off refugees and that he expects the EU to pay for it.

Feature image source credit: SimonTrew [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Danica Radisic

Danica Radisic is Editor-in-Chief of The SEE Observer. She is also the proud owner of toddler, teen, two dogs, and a boutique communications and marketing agency. Danica has spent over a decade not only following and working with media in Southeast Europe, but also training journalists in using new tools and new media development. Follow Danica on Twitter as @nikibgd.

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