Sunday, 31 March 2019 15:08

HUNGARY – Sensationalist Headline Warns of Invasion by African Migrants

News website Origo reported on a new resolution adopted by the European Parliament, which aims to protect the rights of African nationals in the EU. The headline was written in a sensationalist manner, warning of ‘millions’ of African migrants coming to Europe. This is Hungary’s media monitoring highlight for March.

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

Hungary March 2019Date of publication: 28 March 2019

Media Outlet: Origo, a pro-government news portal. 


Title: “The European Parliament would release millions of African migrants to Europe”

Description of the xenophobic and anti-Muslim content: The article reports on the European Parliament’s resolution on the fundamental right of people of African descent in Europe, adopted of the 26th of March this year. The resolution was constructed to encourage EU member states to develop national anti-racism strategies and to tackle racism in areas such as education, housing and the justice system. The resolution was approved with an overwhelming majority. The Origo article states that the resolution “provides an opportunity for illegal migrants from Africa to legalize their status in Europe” and the author claims that this proves that the EU “expressly supports economic migration.” The author comes to the conclusion that this means ‘millions’ of African migrants would be ‘released’ into Europe, and leads the article with this title. This article was published on the news website Origo, one of Hungary’s leading news platforms. The news organization changed its editorial stance in 2015, moving from being critical of the Fidesz-led government to becoming more government-friendly in its political reporting. This article was also disseminated on Híradó, a Hungarian public broadcaster with a far reach. 

Myth debunked: The issue with this article is the sensationalist headline, which is not in-line with the rest of the article. The piece itself remains mostly factual, quoting parts of the resolution and explaining the outcome of the vote. Nowhere in the article, about the EU resolution itself, is there any mention of ‘millions’ of African migrants coming to Europe; this is an assumption made by the author. In fact, immigration is just one aspect of the resolution and focusses on providing “safe and legal opportunities” to African migrants wishing to enter the EU; this in no way equates to ‘releasing millions’ of migrants into Europe. It is clear that the author has a message to pedal here, which is made clear in the headline, and is in line with Fidesz-led government’s anti-immigration stance. The title also has a clear clickbait element; leading with such a shocking statement will urge people to interact with this news piece. However, this is not professional journalism. It is ironic that the article references elements of the resolution which aim to reduce discriminatory stereotypes and tackle the issue of afrophobic attacks, when it is exactly this kind of reporting that leads to such discrimination. Both Origo and Híradó have a large influence in Hungary, with the latter being a public service broadcaster. This comes with responsibility for informing the public in a fair and neutral manner. Sensationalist language and scare-mongering tactics in reporting are not in line with this. 

More to read:

The Website That Shows How a Free Press Can Die

Hungary Has A Xenophobia ProblemHungary Has A Xenophobia Problem

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