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Biggest Hungarian political daily Nepszabadsag shut down by new owner, reactions

Népszabadság, Hungary's biggest daily was suddenly shut down on Saturday. It seems that is a Gov't crackdown. The case is unprecedented, but not un expected since the paper uncovered gov't corruption. Last issue of Népszabadság dealt with sticky topics: propaganda minister helicopter trip, National Bank's Governor's girlfriend. Lőrinc Mészáros, the humble pipe-fitter turned billionaire who many in Hungary believe to be Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's strawman, just bought Népszabadság a few days ago, as we could learn from the news recently.

nolMediaworks, the publisher of Népszabadság, announced on Saturday that it was temporarily suspending publication of the national print daily and its on-line edition nol.hu.
Numerous rumors circulated earlier this year about the 60-year old paper potentially being sold off — again. A statement released on nol.hu says the daily and the website will cease being published for the time being.
So the new owners shut down the website and newspaper
Media industry experts are still trying to figure out who purchased Népszabadság, but sources tell the Beacon that businessmen with close ties to the government may be behind the transaction.
According to a statement released on nol.hu, Népszabadság
"has so far been unable to achieve economic success, and management's priority must be to resolve this, finding the best future business model,"
"is adversely affecting the performance of the whole [Mediaworks portfolio] and will continue to do so in the long term, unless it is put on a completely new footing,"
"has lost 74% of its sold circulation in the past 10 years, corresponding to more than 100,000 copies. Consequently, since 2007, it has produced more than HUF five billion in losses. So far this year, this business segment has again generated a considerable net loss."
While there certainly may be truth to Népszabadság's poor economic performance since 2008, that alone does not warrant completely shutting down the website which serves as a repository for much of the content generated by the staff over the years.
A post on Népszabadság's Facebook page (presumably written by the editorial staff) says that the staff was informed of the daily's demise at the same time as the public.
"Our first thought is that this is a putsch," they wrote.
Former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány reacted immediately on his Facebook page. Ther leader of the opposition Democratic Coalition says that "The killing off of the Népszabadság newspaper is the most egregious attack yet on Hungary's democracy and freedom of the press. The silencing of the largest Hungarian political daily, and one of the most important symbols of a democratic Hungary, is an unprecedented outrage from the Orbán regime.
We support the editorial team of Népszabadság, we empathize with the readers and with what is left of a democratic Hungary, and we are ready to take part in the fight for the paper by any and all legal and democratic means."

Source: facebook, budapestbeacon, freehungary

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 07:31

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