A survey by the Nézőpont Institute showed that 60% of reports about Hungary in the German press were critical in 2016, an “unprecedentedly high figure” compared with the institute’s earlier surveys. A total of 13,000 reports in the printed and online media of 18 countries were assessed. Unlike in the previous year, when intensive media attention on Hungary focused on the migrant crisis, last year saw a shift towards the “growing international role” of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Most reports on Hungary in the international press were published in the period surrounding Hungary’s referendum on EU migrant quotas. Only 3% of international press reports concerning Hungary were favourable, 68% were neutral and 29% were critical, Nézőpont said at a conference.
Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács claimed at the event that the German press, which was “especially critical”, was “being used for political purposes” and they “applied double standards” against Orbán, who had been “under attack” despite most of his proposals on Schengen’s renewal having been endorsed by the EU. Kovács said that contrary to Nézőpont’s assessment, he had the impression that last year’s international press coverage about Hungary was more moderate. A large part of the criticism was directed at the government’s earlier conflicts and not its 2016 policies. Kovács said the cabinet has been rightfully persistent about its position without which it would not be able to fulfil its goals.