Budapest is the principal communications center. In 1997, there were 3 million main line telephones. A 1999 report showed an additional 1.2 million mobile cellular phones in use. Although telecommunication services in Hungary were long underdeveloped, services improved significantly during the 1990s, and investment in value-added services, such as the Internet and VSAT, grew. As of 1999 Hungary had 32 AM and 15 FM radio stations and 39 television stations. In 2000 there were 690 radios and 437 television sets for every 1,000 people in Hungary. The same year, there were about 85 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 16 Internet service providers, who were serving about 1.2 million users in 2001.
Budapest has always been Hungary's publishing center. The following table lists circulation figures for the larger Budapest dailies as of 2002:
|Népszabadság||Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party (HSWP)||316,000|
|Népszava||Hungarian Trade Unions||120,000|
|Magyar Hírlap||Budapest Party Committee and Metropolitan Council||75,000|
|Magyar Nemzet||Patriotic People's Front||70,000|
The constitution of Hungary provides for free speech and a free press, and the government is said generally to respect these rights. Although previously all means of communication had been government property, 1995 saw the beginning of the privatization process, with aims to put most print and broadcast media in private hands.