The government’s unsubstantiated and flat-out false allegations about the political opposition during the campaign were so successful that even a significant number of opposition voters believed them, reports HVG360 on the results of a study by the Dimenzió Media Foundation.
A representative poll conducted in late March showed that a wide range of voters had encountered false political messages, but could not be convinced as to how real they were.
The results showed that, among other things, 30% of opposition voters believed that Péter Márki-Zay would lead Hungary into war. And those not attached to a specific party gave twice as much credit to the government’s character assassination attempts on the opposition’s prime ministerial candidate.
The poll sample also made clear that Hungarians’ right to be properly informed without influence has become seriously damaged since 2010. As Ferenc Vicsek, one of the authors of the report, put it:
It’s impossible to talk about free and democratic elections in a place where a significant portion of citizens, the proportion that significantly influences the election, are not exposed to the messages of some participants in a political competition, including those that refute the false statements said about them. The fact that these refutations do not even reach some voters is visible proof of how uniquely asymmetrical the Hungarian media system is.
The research did not take a look at those who had encountered responses to Fidesz’s claims, nor how those who had exposure to differing viewpoints eventually decided which ones were true. As a result, it cannot be determined to what extent these allegations influenced the final election results.
[Népszava][Photo: Péter Márki-Zay / Facebook]