Wrestling the Fourth Arm of Democracy: How the Orban Regime Undermined Media Independence in Hungary Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Altena, Hailey
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum in Global Studies
  • This thesis explores how political actors in East-Central Europe undermine media independence. Framed by opportunity structure theory, it suggests that given relevant opportunities, political actors restrict media independence by utilizing three specific strategies: legislative action, financial manipulation, and political pressure. While political actors may have agency to employ one or two strategies against independent media, without opportunity to utilize all three strategies in tandem, political actors cannot effectively undermine media independence. To explore this argument, this thesis examines the Orban regime in Hungary as a lens through which to observe each strategy in action. Orban’s regime represents the most extreme case of media freedom violations in East-Central Europe —violations, which are made possible by political, financial, and legislative opportunities in Hungary. It suggests that the ruling party and Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, have been more effective than other political actors in the region because they have utilized all three tools simultaneously to repress independent media.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Jenkins, Robert
  • Weiler, Jonathan
  • Vachudová, Milada Anna
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

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