Facebook Outage Puts Hungary’s Opposition on Edge During Primary
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc.’s hours-long service outage showed that one of the crucial communication channels for opponents of authoritarian-leaning governments can’t be taken for granted, according to Hungarian opposition politicians.
Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, who’s campaigning in a primary election that will decide who will challenge Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s more than decade-old rule in next year’s ballot, said the outage imperiled one of the most fundamental democratic rights.
Facebook is “for us opposition politicians one of the last media outlets where we can talk to you and which isn’t totally dominated by Fidesz and which appears to be an independent channel,” Karacsony said in a video posted on the social media site on Tuesday, referring to Orban’s political party. “And we can see that if there’s a problem then it threatens democratic” access to disseminate information.
His allies including European Parliament lawmaker Katalin Cseh echoed the sentiment.
Hungary has slid in media-freedom rankings as Orban consolidated power since 2010 partly by extending his influence over public and private broadcasters. Under his rule, Hungary fell to 89th place among 180 countries in the press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, a watchdog, the second-worst for a European Union member.
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