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Total War Attila Online

Total War: Warhammer was also the fastest-selling Total War game, selling half a million copies in the first few days on sale.[2] As a promotional contest for the multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2, Warhammer-themed community created cosmetics for playable characters in that game were released in September 2016.[37]

Total War Attila online

Independent online outlets faced financial pressure, as the government channelled increased advertising revenue to partisan outlets in the lead-up to the October 2016 migrant quota referendum (see Media, Diversity, and Content Manipulation).

Activists mobilized online around the #IStandWithCEU hashtag after the government passed a law jeopardizing the future of the Central European University in Budapest (see Digital Activism)

Internet freedom declined in Hungary in the past year after independent online outlets were increasingly squeezed out of the market and a new antiterrorism law gave authorities greater powers to demand user data from private companies.

The internet remains relatively free in Hungary, and the government does not engage in any politically motivated blocking or filtering of online content. However, the diversity of the online media landscape is threatened by the inequitable and politically biased distribution of advertising revenue, resulting in the closure of some independent online outlets over the past few years. The government unleashed an aggressive online advertising campaign in the lead-up to the migrant quota referendum in October 2016, urging citizens to reject the quota, while simultaneously boosting revenues of progovernment outlets.

The ICT market in Hungary lacks significant competition, with over a third of the market belonging to Magyar Telekom. Four ISPs control over 80 percent of the total fixed broadband market.[11] UPC was the first company to enable home routers to serve as Wi-Fi hotspots, at the same time as it entered the mobile phone market as a mobile virtual network operator, which resells service using networks owned by another provider.[12]

The government of Hungary does not engage in any significant blocking of content online and does not place restrictions on access to social media, though a number of websites purportedly containing Holocaust denial content were blocked by the authorities. Online content is somewhat limited as a result of lack of revenue for independent media outlets online, the dominance of the state-run media outlet, and the biased nature of the allocation of state advertisement funds.

However, both print and online media outlets bear editorial responsibility if their aim is to distribute content to the public for "information, entertainment or training purposes."[44] The law fails to clarify what editorial responsibility entails and whether it would imply legal liability for online publications. A member of the Media Council said that the provision could apply to a blog if it generates revenue.[45] According to László Bodolai, a lawyer for the news outlet Index and a media law expert, based on a 2015 court decision, bloggers cannot legally be forced to amend or correct content with which someone disagrees, though they may be subject to lawsuits and damages.[46]

The online media environment in Hungary is relatively diverse, though independent outlets face increasing economic and political pressure. In October 2016, Hungary's leading opposition newspaper and online news portal, Népszabadság (People's Freedom), abruptly shut down. Though the owner said it was a business decision, journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) regard the move as a consequence of political pressure. Before the outlet shut down, Népszabadság had published several highly critical articles exposing government corruption and misuse of state funds by ministers. The company that later acquired Népszabadság has been linked to Lőrinc Mészáros, an oligarch and Mayor of Felcsút.[52]

Online media outlets that publish critical content are far less likely to attract revenue from state advertising or private companies owned by government-friendly oligarchs. As the Hungarian online advertisement market is not yet fully developed, this loss in revenue poses a significant threat to the operations of critical online outlets. Online media is pressured to stick with politically "safe" content and many outlets veer away from covering controversial topics such as corruption.[55]

In the lead-up to a national referendum in October 2016 on the topic of the European Union's mandatory migrant quotas, the government invested heavily in an advertisement campaign urging citizens to vote against accepting a quota of migrants into the country. In what has been referred to as the largest advertising campaign in Hungary's history, the government inundated online media with alarmist messages about supposed threats posed by migrants. The online advertising revenue almost exclusively benefited outlets that publish progovernment content, often owned by businessmen close to the government, including 888 and Ripost.[56] The political nature of government advertising, giving outlets such as these a financial advantage, further distorted the online media landscape.

Businesses are also reluctant to advertise on online news outlets critical of the government., a website close to the opposition Socialist party which posts content critical of the government, was forced to reduce staff partly because businesses would not consider advertising on their site.[57]

The introduction of the advertisement tax, which media outlets pay based on their advertising revenues, is also a burden for some media outlets, particularly smaller online ventures.[58] In May 2015, the tax was converted from a progressive tax into a flat tax,[59] as the European Commission started investigating whether the tax harms competition.[60]

Despite reports of self-censorship and challenges of maintaining financial viability, some online media outlets have become a tool to scrutinize public officials. For instance, starting in January 2012, Hvg published a series of articles on how the then-president of the republic plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. Although he denied any wrongdoing, Pál Schmitt resigned in April 2012.[61] However, journalists have faced consequences in the past for publishing content critical of the government online. In June 2014, Gergő Sáling, the editor-in-chief of the online media outlet Origo, was dismissed following the publication of a series of articles critical of the government, including an article that revealed a possible abuse of public funds by the undersecretary of the prime minister, prompting speculation that the government pressured the publication to fire the editor.[62] Sáling subsequently founded a nonprofit investigative journalism site called Direkt36 that publishes articles based on extensive investigations concerning corruption.[63]

Observers have noted that government-affiliated entities have been acquiring independent online outlets, which often follows a shift towards a more government-friendly editorial slant.[64] In 2017, Origo was acquired by Ádám Matolcsy, who has close family ties to the government. The outlet's original staff either chose to leave or were dismissed, and former employees have stated that Origo has since transformed into an outlet for government propaganda.[65]

Since 2011, the state-owned Hungarian News Agency (MTI) has had a virtual monopoly in the news market. MTI offers its news free of charge, making it difficult for other actors to compete. Many online media outlets that have been impacted by the economic crisis lack staff to produce original stories and tend to republish MTI news items.

The online media landscape is otherwise relatively diverse, and online media outlets have given a voice to minorities, including Hungary's Roma community,[66] the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) community, and religious groups.

Blogs are generally considered an opinion genre and do not typically express independent or balanced news. There are also blogs analyzing governmental policies, the activities of public figures, and corruption. The comments sections of online articles are moderated, typically to prevent negative discussions. Far right blogs and portals are known to circulate pro-Russian propaganda.[67] Some of them spam Facebook with obvious fake news.[68]

Social media platforms have grown increasingly popular as a tool for advocacy. After the government called a referendum in October 2016 on the topic of the European Union's mandatory migrant quotas, activists and NGOs campaigned heavily online. NGOs condemned the referendum and accompanying government campaign, which they say contained xenophobic rhetoric and disinformation.[69] Activists campaigned online to encourage voters to symbolically spoil their ballots or avoid the referendum altogether. The referendum was ultimately declared invalid after 43 percent of voters participated, below the minimum threshold of 50 percent, while 6 percent of votes were spoiled.[70]

Throughout the European immigration crisis, Hungarians increasingly used the internet to mobilize against the government's strict immigration policies and anti-refugee rhetoric. In June 2015, the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog party launched an online crowdfunding campaign to counter the government's anti-immigration billboards displayed around the country.[73] The campaign gained popular support, raising over $100,000. In July 2015, the campaigners put up spoof billboards containing messages such as, "Sorry about our Prime Minister!"[74]

The right to freedom of expression is protected in the Fundamental Law of Hungary, and the government does not generally prosecute individuals for posting controversial political or social content online. However, the law includes criminal penalties for defamation, and public officials occasionally initiate defamation proceedings against individuals posting critical content on social media. Judicial oversight of surveillance by intelligence agencies continues to be a concern, and the government recently passed a law granting authorities access to encrypted communications. 041b061a72


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