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State media staff need permission to report on Thunberg, EU politics

Hungarian state media bosses banned coverage of leading human rights organizations and told staff they need special permission to report on a variety of politically sensitive topics such as EU politics and Greta Thunberg, according to a report by politico.eu.

Greta Thunberg (Image by lev radin/Shutterstock.com)

According to internal emails acquired by the publication, state media editors are given lists of sensitive topics. Draft versions of content related to these topics must be sent for approval from higher up.

The list of issues that require special consent include migration, European terror, Brussels, church issues, as well as parliamentary, presidential and local elections in the European Union and a selection of neighboring countries, the report says citing an October email signed by senior editor Sándor Végh.

Politico says that journalists working at the state media need permission before they even start writing about Thunberg.

Journalists have no idea about the identity of the person who approves articles deemed sensitive, the report says, citing an unnamed state media employee. Emails acquired by Politico come from senior editors working for an organization with responsibility for state media outlets such as state news wire MTI as well as multiple television channels and radio stations.

Confirming an earlier report by Hungarian paper Népszava, the emails also contain an explicit order preventing state media employees from mentioning reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in their coverage, Politico says.