In recent years, the Hungarian Government has become one of the largest media players in Transylvania through an NGO that bought or funded a significant number of local publications in Szeklerland, writes PressOne.
The analysts of the phenomenon warn that it is a mass takeover of Hungarian media for Hungarians who live outside Hungary. The criteria for allocating funds are non-transparent and tributary to the governing party policy in Hungary, FIDESZ, say independent observers of the phenomenon in the neighboring country.
A study released last year shows an increase in the interest of Hungarians in Transylvania for Hungarian language media due to the “incorporation” in the Hungarian media. It is an effect of the transnational strategy developed by the Hungarian government.
The most powerful new media player in the Transylvanian media market, as well as a mediator of money made available by the Budapest government is an NGO: the Transylvanian Media Association – ASMT (Erdélyi Médiatér Egyesület).
The association was registered in 2013 in Salard commune, Salard village, Bihor county. Thanks to a project submitted by the Ministry of Human Resources in Hungary, the government decided to finance the ASMT with 1.9 billion forints, about 6 million euros. The money was earmarked in March 2019 and comes after another $ 1.45 billion (4.5 million) tranche that was, again, transferred to Romania in 2017.
Since then, ASMT has begun to take over the ownership of various businesses, publishers, radio stations, or local television license holders. In fact, the Hungarian press in Transylvania is now dependent on the money sent by Viktor Orbán in order to survive.
The project that “convinced” the Hungarian government is called Transylvania 3.0. It is not very clear what this concept refers to, but it was circulated by a certain Szilárd Demeter, who holds the position of director of the Petőfi Museum of Literature in Budapest. Szilárd Demeter has no specific role within the association, but he is the one who presented to the Hungarian-language readers the new vision of the Hungarian government about the new press.