Hungarian government officials and the conservative media said the latest Nations in Transit report of the U.S. government-funded Freedom House organization, which claims that Hungary is no longer a “free country,” was clearly biased and didn’t meet even the most elemental objectivity criteria.
The report concluded that there has been “a stunning democratic breakdown” in countries in Central Europe such as Hungary and Poland: notably, both countries are well-known for being run by conservative governments which share two common traits: they both oppose globalism and illegal immigration and enjoy strong popularity among their electorates.
In a detailed analysis of the Freedom House report, Hungarian political analyst Attila Palkó said that Freedom House uses questionable methodology: the section covering methodology states that a country’s assessment is based on seven different aspects but fails to explain how points are being awarded in the various categories, nor does it provide clear criteria.
He adds that in the case of Hungary the report is the work of a single individual, Gábor Filippov, the author of a 2018 study on “hybrid regimes”. With the pertinent elements of his previous study largely incorporated into the study, Filippov now has an “objective” source to refer to when defending his scientifically debatable theory and is halfway to closing the loop of circular arguments.
Government Spokesman Zoltán Kovács says Freedom House’s consistently negative assessments of Hungary stem from the fact that it “relies year after year on a circle of so-called experts and contributors that come from the same left-liberal circles”.
“We reached a turning point some time ago with these NGOs. These groups – their leadership, their financial backers, and the so-called experts who write these publications – no longer even attempt to maintain the appearance of objectivity. They no longer try to hide their bias,” Kovács said, adding that an institution founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie could no longer be taken seriously.
Palkó also points out that far from being an objective assessment of the state of freedom in Hungary, the study Freedom House’s final judgement is based on is essentially an inventory of opposition grievances and the media articles quoted in the attached literature are exclusively sourced from left-liberal publications.
Title image: Hungarian papers and magazines.