In June 2022 Andras Petho wrote an article for Nieman Reports entitled I witnessed Orbán crack down on Hungary’s free press. Here’s my advice to journalists facing similar threats about his experience with working in Hungary, which is an increasingly hostile environment for independent journalists. In the piece he argued that while it is tempting to focus on ourselves and engage in fights with politicians and propagandists on social media, it is a much better use of our resources if we dedicate all of our energy to ambitious reporting projects instead.
Andras deeply believes in this, but he understands that others might think that it is a much better approach to be vocal in the face of populist attacks. Given that this is an ongoing debate, we have organized a panel around this topic. How should journalists respond to the rise of populism and autocratism? Should we engage in direct conflicts with those who attack liberal democracy (and traditional media as part of it)? Or should we find other ways to handle these challenges?