Viktor Orbán shut down Hungary’s leading opposition paper

By now the whole world knows that Hungary’s leading daily newspaper, Népszabadság, is no more. Although the Budapest correspondents of Reuters and the Associated Press pointed out that the newspaper has lost $18.4 million since 2007, don’t allow yourselves to be fooled. Mediaworks, which owns Népszabadság, makes plenty of money on its other publications, including several profitable regional papers and the popular Nemzeti Sport.

Fidesz may say that it considers “the suspension [of Népszabadság] a rational economic decision,” but ceasing publication altogether is not considered to be an economically sound choice for solving the financial woes of a business venture. Reorganization, restructuring, reducing the size of the workforce–these are some of the most often used instruments to salvage a company. Suspending publication, by contrast, can be a costly affair. There are most likely contracts in force to print the paper for the next few months, and what about the 30,000 some subscribers who will not receive their daily paper on Monday? No, closing the doors of Népszabadság has nothing to do with economics. It is a sordid political maneuver executed by the far-right, dictatorial leader of a country that can no longer be called a democracy.

The hypocritical prime minister wants us believe that “it would be a violation of the freedom of the press if [Fidesz] would intervene in the affairs of the owner of the media,” but it is almost certain that this sudden move was orchestrated by Viktor Orbán himself. Just as we learned only recently that he had been the one who handed down the order to investigate Ökotárs, the civic group responsible for the dispersion of the Norway Funds, two years ago. He lied then as he does now. At the time of the raid on Ökotárs, he was asked whether he played any role in that shameful affair. He denied it, adding that if he had done so, it would have been a crime. Now we have the proof. We know that the prime minister of Hungary, by his own admission, committed a crime in 2014. And I suspect that he did so again while working to eliminate a paper that must have nettled him, especially lately. I wonder what his next step will be in his quest to destroy all independent media outlets. He has been at it for some time, but earlier he didn’t use such heavy-handed and so openly dictatorial methods. By now, it seems, he no longer cares about even the semblance of legality and media freedom.

Darkness, Thomas Toft / flickr

Darkness, Thomas Toft / flickr

In the last few months rumors were flying that the government was trying to buy, through some middleman, Mediaworks, currently owned by Vienna Capital Partners, a private equity firm. In June 2016 Népszava, the oldest Hungarian socialist newspaper, learned that Heinrich Pecina, the majority owner, asked for a meeting with Viktor Orbán. Interestingly, the Hungarian prime minister had no compunctions about negotiating with the owner of Népszabadság concerning the possible sale of the paper. Népszava at that point believed that the “buyer” would be the mysterious “adviser” of Viktor Orbán, Árpád Habony, who is most likely Orbán’s “stróman,” as a front man is called in Hungarian. Others suspected Lőrinc Mészáros, who is usually described as the ultimate “stróman,” the alter ego of the prime minister whose newly acquired fabulous wealth is only partly his. The employees of Népszabadság were living under the constant threat that they would end up in the street and be replaced by a new pro-government owner, just as happened to Magyar Hírlap in 2004 when Ringier, an international media group with headquarters in Switzerland, sold the paper to Gábor Széles, a billionaire with far-right political views.

The journalists working for the paper might have had their forebodings, but I’m sure they never dreamed of such an abrupt and barbarous end to their paper. The question is what made Orbán set aside all niceties and finesse and show his true ruthless self. It seems that the straw that broke the camel’s back was a recent series of investigative articles that appeared in the paper about Hungarian National Bank Chairman György Matolcsy and Antal Rogán, the propaganda minister.

The paper reported that Matolcsy’s lover, while working for the bank, received an inordinately high salary. And once she left the bank, Matolcsy placed her in lucrative positions at some of the bank’s foundations, which serve as conduits to transform the “profits” of Hungary’s central bank from public to private funds.

As it turned out, that was not the end of the Matolcsy story. Since Matolcsy is in the middle of divorcing his wife, he needed an apartment. Soon enough he found just the right one. A lovely, very expensive apartment in the Castle District of Buda. The only problem is that the apartment belongs to the president of the Hungarian branch of Unicredit, Mihály Patai, who is currently the chairman of the Banking Association. Considering that György Matolcsy is heading the very institution that has a supervisory function over the Hungarian banking system, this whole arrangement is highly unethical and suggests a conflict of interest. Népszabadság had begun to investigate possible favors extended by the central bank to Unicredit.

That was bad enough, but then came another story, this time about Antal Rogán, whose extravagant lifestyle and questionable financial dealings have been the talk of the town for a long time. Népszabadság learned that Rogán, his wife, and one of their sons traveled in princely fashion to a wedding. They used a helicopter. Well, I guess nothing is wrong about traveling by helicopter to a wedding if you have enough money, but the story was not so simple. First, Rogán denied the whole thing–until he was confronted with a photo showing him heading toward the helicopter. At this point he switched his story and talked about a kind friend who generously gave him a ride back from the wedding. A day later it turned out that he had used the helicopter both to go to and to return from the wedding. Lies, lies, lies.

Well, these two or three embarrassing stories about people who are perhaps the closest associates of Viktor Orbán were too much for the mafia boss. He gave the order: shut them down! After all, he had no idea what else those two or three journalists who had worked on the stories know. And what paper that wants to live another day will hire them to continue their work? Shutting down Népszabadság doesn’t merely have a chilling effect; it puts Hungarian investigative journalism into a deep freeze.

Viktor Orbán is a vengeful, vindictive, malevolent man who doesn’t forget and who is ready to pursue his victims until they are utterly destroyed. There is no mercy once he decides that somebody is an enemy. At the top of his enemy list are Gábor Iványi, the kind minister of the Hungarian Methodists; Ibolya Dávid, whom he blames for his lost election in 2006; and Ferenc Gyurcsány, who had the temerity to win a television debate against him. And then there are the other lesser-known victims who at one time or the other stood in his way: they often languish in jail for months or years on trumped-up charges. One could go on and on.

Finally, let me quote a bitter Facebook note by Mária Vásárhely, a media expert: “Thank you, European Union. It matters not how painful it is, but it must be said that without you Hungary wouldn’t have ended up where it is now. If you didn’t finance the building and functioning of Orbán’s dictatorship, the whole edifice would have crumbled already. It doesn’t matter how painful it is to point out, but the destruction of Népszabadság, one of the last bastions of press freedom, was purchased with the immense amount of money you have poured into the country and which is now being used by the criminal oligarchs of a criminal state.”

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of truth in this bitter note.

October 8, 2016
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gdfxx
Guest

Although the rest of the post is most likely correct, I have a problem with the following part:

“Although the Budapest correspondents of Reuters and the Associated Press pointed out that the newspaper has lost $18.4 million since 2007, don’t allow yourselves to be fooled. Mediaworks, which owns Népszabadság, makes plenty of money on its other publications, including several profitable regional papers and the popular Nemzeti Sport.”

A company does not need to maintain losing parts of itself because some other parts make money. By getting rid of the losing part (Nepszabadsag), the overall profits of the company become larger, in this case by $18.4 million in nine years.

Also, in my opinion, the fact that the right-wing government supports financially (openly and in hidden ways) the parts of the media (written and electronic) that it likes – because they act as its spokesmen – is a much bigger scandal than this one.

Observer
Guest

The act is clearly political, it fits the pattern of past actions and it is clear who benefits politically, qui bono.

In business such a brand name and reader numbers are not thrown away or severely damaged like this. They are reorganized, austerity measures are introduced, investors or buyers ader sought, etc.

gdfxx
Guest

Sudden closing of newspapers is not that rare, here is one example:
http://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/18/us/publisher-closes-the-cleveland-press.html

webber
Guest

gdfxx – this is a bunch of nonsense (see my comment below). It’s disappointing to see something this illogical from you – it’s as if you were working for Fidesz trying to explain this away, with transparently false analogies.
Was that newspaper in Cleveland closed overnight, with no warning and no attempt to sell it? No. They tried to make it profitable and failed, and tried to sell it and failed – it happened incrementally, not overnight.
Was this newspaper in Cleveland revealing huge corruption just before it was closed. No. (Nepszabadsag was)
Was this newspaper in Cleveland significant in any way nationally? no, this in fact is the first time I ever heard of it – because I’m not from Cleveland. (Nepszabadsag was the most widely-read daily in all of Hungary).

gdfxx
Guest

Well, with 38,000 subscribers I would not consider a paper significant nationally. A paper is a business, not a charity. If those who protest so strongly want to maintain it, they could put up the funds and make it born again. Offices, printers, services (phone, internet, heating etc.), journalists, cleaning people cannot be paid with demonstrations.

There have been similar closings or takeovers of publications in the US, the journalists walked out and did something about it. Demonstrations against the government, even if there is truth in the essence make no difference. Forming a paper that is owned by all those who demonstrate may lead to some results.

webber
Guest

More nonsense from you!
It was the most widely-read daily in Hungary. Punktum. (since you seem to be Hungarian, I’ll use that word).
It was not just subscribers – a lot of copies were sold at newsstands every day. Tappanch put up the figures on how many were sold that way, and how many subscribers there were (I believe you got the figure wrong). And then there was the internet traffic – I have no idea how many hits the website got, but it was not a few.
J

webber
Guest

No, a media company doesn’t “need” to keep unprofitable bits – but it is unheard of for a company pursuing profit to just close down a newspaper over night. It is unheard of for a company to close it down without trying to sell it on the market, and to get something for it.
Don’t try to pretend Nepszabadsag’s brand was worth nothing. And don’t try to pretend that it would have been impossible to find a buyer.

There are lots of examples of famous newspapers which made huge losses being purchased
One example – Rupert Murdoch purchased The Times (of London), and it was making huge losses. He got it because it was the newspaper of record, and gave him clout.

webber
Guest
Another disturbing thing about your comment, Gdfxx, is that you pretend that profits for a newspaper in Hungary have nothing to do with political stance. If you are Hungarian, you know that is not the case. If you are Hungarian, I dare say you have lied (even to yourself?) in your comment above. Nepszabadsag was the most widely-read newspaper in Hungary. By your logic, Gdfxx, all Hungarian newspapers ought to be closed, except for those artificially kept afloat by advertising from government companies. The closure of papers should start with Nepszava, the opposition paper that requires regular capital inputs because of the government/Fidesz block on advertising revenue. Do you know what the Hungarian government does to companies which dare to advertise in Nepszava, after they have been warned behind the scenes not to? One thing that happens -Those companies get a visit from the tax authorities. Then, even after the books are found to be fine and the investigation is closed, they get a new visit and new audit. Etc., etc., etc. As to govt. advertising – here is an example for you. The state owned national lottery company is, allegedly, set up as a neutral company, unaffiliated with government.… Read more »
gdfxx
Guest

I agree that the government’s intervention starved Nepszabadsag of its funds. But that has nothing to do with what I said. Namely, that a corporation cannot maintain a losing enterprise, regardless of why it does not make money. This is the basis of capitalism. If you do not like that, you can return to the Rakosi-Kadar era, when all publications were financed by the government (and all publications supported the government).

webber
Guest

Nepszabadsag was PROFITABLE! That’s been revealed by Index, which got its hands on the financial reports. Nepszabadsag made money last year.
End this nonsense now, please.

gdfxx
Guest

“Nem áll meg egészen az az érv sem, hogy a Népszabadság súlyosan veszteséges volt. A Céginfó szerint például 2015-ben 134 milliós mérleg szerinti eredményt ért el. Az előző években valóban nem voltak túl jók az eredmények: 2012-ben 513 milliós, 2013-ban 1,4 milliárdos, 2014-ben pedig 481 milliós veszteséget könyvelhettek el.” (from index.hu)

If you consider this a viable enterprise, you have no clue about running a business.

Bowen
Guest

I’m not defending the closure of Nepszabadsag in any way. But since you mention Rupert Murdoch, it reminds me that the News of the World closed down very abruptly. Not overnight (it had a chance to have a ‘goodbye’ issue), but very quickly. Of course, that was more a case of Murdoch jettisoning something that wasn’t working out for him, rather than state interference.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_of_the_World#End_of_publication

webber
Guest

That was more of a case of a newspaper that illegally listened in on people’s phone conversations, and published the details, as a result of which the editors were facing prosecution and jail time.

It is not even close to the reason Nepszabadsag was closed. Why did you bring it up if you did not want to muddy the water and pretend it’s all just what happens in democracies anyway?

Clark Davis
Guest

Ask yourself this:

1. Why did they tear down the website abruptly? The archives are still important.
2. Why did they close all forms of communication?
3. Why didn’t they notify subscribers pre-closing?
4. Why did they freeze all email accounts?
5. Why did the staff find out through media?
6. Why did Mediaworks CEO suddenly get sidelined and replaced?
7. Why are there numerous articles on the connection between Mediaworks and Habony Árpád?
8. Why are there numerous articles from this year about the fears that Népszabadság will be shutdown by Fidesz and Mediaworks?
9. How is it that the government hasn’t cleared themselves and shown that they had no involvement with Mediaworks?
10. Why is the internet plastered with images from coffee houses where for example Habony Árpád is meeting with Mediaworks exectuvies?

Guest

London Calling!

“It always looks darkest just before it gets totally black.”

As Charlie Brown said.

dos929
Guest

Excellent article Eva! These kinds of open denouncing of Orban should have appeared in all opposition media right from day one of this fascist regime taking power, because their methods of ‘governance’ started long before their official tenure commenced. Orban wasn’t an enigma, his dirty tricks were known from his first government years 1998-2002.

Those EU leaders and officials who had the facts black and white after the reports of Tavares and Scheppele bear total responsibility for the ‘success’ of the Orban regime. And such they do not deserve to be serving politicians in the EU. As to the fate of Hungary and of the people of Hungary it seem they do not matter…. Let ‘1984’ rule….

Istvan
Guest

Yet the EU continues to keep the drunk in chief Juncker in charge of the Commission. The EU will not save what remains of Hungarian democracy, it is lost itself. I mean Juncker makes drunken jokes about Orban being a dictator, how can a leader like that be expected to promote democracy in Hungary.

On the upside Trump is now destroyed due to the release of the tape of him sexually bantering with a celebrity reporter, who also happened to be a member of the extended Bush family. The Republican Party effectively abandoned him by ordering all of its advertising funds be used to support lower level candidates in an attempt to avoid a sweep by the Democrats just 3 hours ago.

bimbi
Guest

@ Istvan, 12:05 am

So, Trump got his October Surprise. One wonders how long this video had been waiting in the wings for its 15 minutes of fame… I’m no Trump fan but he was right on one thing – it was all just “locker-room chat”. Star males use their money and their power to get what they can as often as they can and half of the blame lies with the women who love it – being hit on is such a boost to the ego. What is especially nauseating is the amount of piety that is being aired by Republican politicians – and we know from Mr. Gingrich that they love their nookie just as well. Is there a (hetero-) male anywhere who has never thought what Mr. Trump was foolish enough to express?

webber
Guest

I don’t recall ever saying words like that. Not even when I was a teenager.
This is not a teenager, this was not even a hormone-addled twenty-year-old. This was a man already past his prime.
Would you like a President who talks like this? Who thinks like this?
Does this bring gravity to the office? Respect?
He bragged about being able to grab women’s genitals because he was powerful and famous.
Why are Republicans sickened – because one of their biggest gripes against Hillary has been (allegedly, anyway), Bill Clinton’s philandering. Not Hillary’s behavior – her husband’s.
How could republicans vote for a man who talks and acts like Trump?

webber
Guest

P.S. October surprise – GOOD MORNING! I think most Americans would be amazed by your comment.
Everyone in the US is used to revelations of some sort or another coming out about candidates in critical times. Both major parties spend inordinate amounts of time digging up dirt about the opposition. And all Americans expect that. One of the candidates is going to be the President of the United States, for heaven’s sake! If there is dirt, it had better come out now, before the election. All Americans are not only used to such revelations – they expect them.
This, however, is huge. It sickens most people. It is only comparable to the disgust people felt about Nixon’s profanity, when those tapes were revealed. Is this man presidential material?
I would not let him near my daughter. Heck – I’d warn my sister to keep away from him.
Do you think Americans – regardless of political leaning – want someone like that in office?
Istvan is right – Trump has been demolished now.

bimbi
Guest
@Webber, 4:33 am Dear Webber, the pious among the pious. I am impressed. The head of the queue is over there on the right… There is a different between “thought” and “utterance” and Mr. Trump was careless. I suspect however, that such considerations as have now been revealed he sees as an essential part of his self-image. As to the question, “Would you like a president…?”, the answer is that you either take all of it or none. Both Pres. Kennedy and Clinton were considered pretty effective in their time (Bill could talk up a storm!) but as we now know, they were both known for their “roving eye”. Hate to say it but most people (yes, I know, US politics is dreadfully partisan) felt that their policy effectiveness was the more important contribution. I do too. As to “Republicans” being “sickened”, it is hypocrisy as usual from that side of the house. Take a look at Newt Gingrich balling some employee and divorcing his wife, all while trying (with utmost piety) to impeach Pres. Clinton. Republicans want “responsible government” but they refuse to do their job and the Republican-constructed backlog in Congress is enormous. Hypocrisy city! “It sickens most… Read more »
webber
Guest

Well, we agree largely on the primary reasons why Trump shouldn’t be president, but apparently you don’t and won’t understand why these comments, caught on tape, have eliminated his last chance of winning.
Pious? Moi? Nope.
Just stating facts. I never spoke that way about women, and that is that. I actually like women, you see – I am not only attracted to one or two, but have some who are just friends.
In fact, I never had any friends who spoke that way about women, I always thought people who did were scum.
But if it’s okay by you – fair enough. You choose your own crowd, and you’ll be know by it.

webber
Guest

known by it (above -Palika is right. My typing is off today!)

bimbi
Guest

@Webber, 7:48 am

Dear Webber, I see you are not so familiar with US politics and accordingly I suggest you look up “October Surprise” on Wikipedia. Please, I did not approve of Mr. Trump’s videoed comments but for me it is no big deal – stupid? yes, reason for “outrage”? no, sorry. I was not aware that you are of the Islamic faith but then why otherwise would you not allow your sister to meet him. That’s what I call a patriarchy!

webber
Guest

Not only are you completely clueless about American politics (witness your incomprehension about Trump, and the erroneous you wrote about Ryan), but you do not know how to read. So read what I wrote again:
“I’d warn my sister to keep away from him”
Warn. Do you know the meaning of that word? If I say “I warn you, if you step in the fire you will burn yourself.” Did I ban you from stepping in the fire? Did I stop you from doing it if you want to do it?

petofi
Guest

@ Webber

You’re in possession of quite a simple understanding of the present election cycle.
Nothing is over. There are so many skeletons in the Hillary closet that will be leaked piecemeal from now until election time–e-mails; wall street; Abedin; the foundation etc. etc.–that they will create a crescendo by election day.
Americans are not idiots: they know damn well
that what’s at stake is the background control of the American government by huge corporations and the super wealthy. Look at the past 20 years: Saving and Loans scandal; 2008 financial implosion; Obama’s inactivity to reign in wall street etc.

For the status quo, Hillary is a safe choice. The next best is Trump. Worst is Sanders who was marginalized early.

webber
Guest

You may have left Hungary, but you took a pile of Hungary with you.

The arrogance of a Hungarian-Canadian, who has spent many long years in Hungary, presuming to understand American politics better than Americans, and preaching to them about what and who is best is…

Well, it’s the sort of thing you have repeatedly denounced in Hungarians.

You know better… You know best. You are more clever.

And you are bloody wrong.

Guest

Don’t judge others by your own, miserably low, standards, bambi?

Of course such people exist – but uniquely, the USA has a huge ‘Bible Belt’.

If you ever see yourself running for president – only you know the full extent of the skeletons in your closet.

Given the huge ‘Bible Belt’ constituency you have to be pretty thick to think you could talk yourself through it.

Have you seen the video from Robert de Niro?

Seek it out – it encapsulates the situation perfectly.

And don’t judge others by your own miserable standards.

And I posted Trump’s RIP demise long before Istvan.

Guest
bimbi
Guest

@Charlie, 7:48 am

Dear Charlie,

Two lines at the start and already two errors:

Don’t judge others by your own, miserably low, standards, bambi?
(One spelling mistake and an irrelevant question mark.)
Of course such people exist – but uniquely, the USA has a huge ‘Bible Belt’.
And now a non sequitur in the next two lines. Gosh you must be the “proper Charlie” that we used to hear so much about. The Bible Belt is utterly irrelevant – that too is filled with oglers of the opposite sex and yes, even fornicators – and why? – because like the Rust Belt a lot of human beings live there. (You don’t honestly think, do you Charlie that people in the Bible Belt live without sin??!)
Then what are we offered?
“And don’t judge others by your own miserable standards.”
Which “miserable standards” Charlie? My, my, you are an old tease.
“And I posted Trump’s RIP demise long before Istvan.”
Of course you did Charlie. After all, you are the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing and we are all very grateful to you. If I remember well, you were the first to inform us that Mr. Corbyn was the cause of the majority Brexit vote, right?

Guest

You seem to have had a humour bypass, bambi.

(Bambi is a wet-behind-the-ears beginner in life with little experience – as in “Disney” )

I’m not going to defend your assertions, because like as webber suggests, you can’t read properly – and I can’t be bothered to put your hat on straight.

Guest

Whoooooosh!
Nuance whizzes straight past your lugs – or through maybe?

(Question mark required, bambi. As is the ‘a’)

By all means have the pleasure of ‘the last post’.

webber
Guest

Bimbi, I bet you do not have a daughter. I do.

bimbi
Guest

@Webber 7:50 am

What relevance does this statement have to anything?

Wondercat
Guest

“Being hit on is such a boost to the ego”… Rather depends on who’s coin the hitting. And although men would like to believe that their attentions are, for the women to whom they pay them, an affirmation, for many of the women whom I know such attentions are only a pesky nuisance.

I understand that there’s a tape in which Melania is conversing with one of her girlfriends, who is oohing and aahing over the size of a diamond on Melania’s finger. Yes, says Melania proudly, that’s the Trump diamond. Very famous! Worth a fortune! But — a curse comes with it.

A curse?, says the girlfriend.

Yes, says Melania. Donald Trump.

Wondercat
Guest

Apologies — “doing”, not “coin”, the hitting.

webber
Guest

Istvan – one of your predictions appears to be coming true. You suggested before the primaries were over that if Trump becomes candidate, the Republican Party could disintegrate, and you suggested the same if he is not made candidate. Well, judging from what happened with Paul Ryan at that rally in WI, it sure looks like disintegration to me at this moment.

I can only hope that the Republicans will run Paul Ryan as candidate in 2020. He could re-take the center. I guess that a lot of people who are voting for the Democrats this year could support him.

webber
Guest

P.S. When, immediately after the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump brought up Bill Clinton’s sex scandal as something unforgivable and unforgettable, he established the reason to release the tape of his disgusting conversation.

Istvan
Guest
Being a Republican myself as I have said before I am distraught. There are also numerous fights going on within the party, that are ripping it apart. The white non-college educated largely racist core of Trump supporters believe that the tape was actually found and made public by main stream Republicans to destroy Trump, but also to restore their control over the Party. It is very possible they will coalesce around an explicitly nationalist platform in a separate far right party as we have seen in Europe. That would be a great outcome from my perspective because they would be marginalized. There is a real possibility the Republican Party will lose the Senate now, because many reluctant Republican Trump supporters feel totally burned and really embarrassed to the point of not voting at all. One of the biggest losers in all of this could be the National Rifle Association which threw all its support behind Trump in fear of Clinton appointing a Supreme Court Justice opposed to the current interpretation of the 2nd amendment to allow for greater regulation of weapons. In foreign policy there will be a much harder line taken with Putin, especially since Clinton I am sure… Read more »
webber
Guest

Istvan, if you haven’t see this yet, I think you’ll enjoy it in a mildly masochistic way:
http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/republican-party-could-recover-as-early-as-2096-experts-say

bimbi
Guest

@ Istvan, 7:26 am

“…possibility the Republican Party will lose the Senate now.” Well, as they say in Oztralia, “Couldn’t happen to a better bunch of bastards”. Bring it on!

bimbi
Guest

@Webber, 4:53 am

Paul Ryan? Ya gotta be jokin’! You know why he is not in the presidential race right now? Because he was steamrolled by the Trump bandwagon, as were all the other narrow, partisan Republican “candidates”. You portray him as “centrist”. In your dreams. In 2020, President Clinton will roll straight over him and his nutty Tea Party supporters. But that is another story.

webber
Guest

Wrong, Bimbi. Ryan was not even considering entering the election. Even before the primaries, before anyone could imagine Trump would gain ground, Ryan said he would not be running. It had nothing to do with Trump. After Trump gained momentum, some people begged him to jump in, and he (wisely, at that point) said “no.”
To put it mildly, you do not appear to have a finger on the pulse of the American electorate. You don’t understand why all the fuss about Trump’s comments. Charlie, who has apparently never lived in the US, has a more clear understanding than you (see what he said about the Bible Belt, above – and think what Bible-thumping Christians who would normally vote Republicans must feel about Trump’s comments).

bimbi
Guest

@Webber, 8:03 am

“…think what Bible-thumping Christians… …must feel about Trump’s comments”

Shucks Webber I should think about half of them are thinking, “Sure glad the Missus didn’t find me out behin’ the barn with lil Mary lest night agin.”

Our hypocrisy is bottomless.

Take it lyin’ down man, take it lyin’ down.

webber
Guest

Yes, there are hypocrites there too – no doubt about it -, but there are not a few people who take this sort of thing seriously, and those people tend to vote Republican, and those people are now much less likely to vote for Trump. How many people do you think he can afford to alienate? A whole lot of women, and conservatives in one blow. Quite an achievement.
He may have just lost Utah because of this scandal, and that is a Republican stronghold, and a state he would have taken easily if this recording hadn’t come out. Read up on why:
http://www.sltrib.com/news/4446222-155/mormon-church-owned-deseret-news-tells-trump

tappanch
Guest

The curious October 4 surge of the mail-in votes in the October 2 referendum, the ridiculous rulings of the Fidesz super majority of the Election Commission in the last few days show that the likely early election will be a complete farce.

Member

I would not be surprised, if rope making and the sale of ropes would be forbidden by the little viktor in Hungary, carrying a rope would be classified as carrying a weapon, and if the person was standing near a tree or lamp post with a rope, he/she would be arrested as a suspect for planning to murder the prime minister.
The thinking of many Hungarians in Budapest is probably getting close to what it was during October of 1956.

Guest

Re: ‘The thinking of many Hungarians in Budapest is probably getting close to what it was during October of 1956’

I leave it to others more knowledgeable on the actual Magyar scene to comment on that. But I’d just suggest Magyar behavior could be predicated on what Putin is doing in Ukraine. It’s a ‘frozen conflict’ to a point and can be ratcheted up at any time. Putin can always avail himself of the opportunity. When that happens ( as I think it is more likely to happen than not )then perhaps Magyars will think more deeply on some things. War or the prospect and tension of it concentrates minds wonderfully. It would be interesting to see how many follow VO into the ‘breach” whatever cause it serves considering his apparent affectation for things ‘Rossiyan’.

Member

Your guess of the future is as good as mine. However my comment was pure sarcasm and not a prediction.

Guest

Got it Gyula on the sarcasm. And for me, a man trying to understand the troublesome , treacherous and nefarious ways of Magyar politics, I go to irony in trying to manage my way of trudging ‘gyalog’ through the muck. Kind of a hard slog if you ask me.

Geppo
Guest

It’ stunning how similar are the situations in italy and hungary.
The leading italian newspaper saw the ousting of the former independed minded ‘director’ and one from the former communist party paper took his place.
The only popular tabloid paper opposing the left wing governament saw its “director” removed . His place was taken from another right wing journalist who doesn’t oppose the governament.
It was said that the publisher was going to get financial state subsidies .
Everything is legal , soft but the result is italy being downgraded by Reportes sans frontieres in its freedom of the press index to a record low level.

Guest

Geppo.
While some things are similar, not sure about the comparison between the situations in Italy and Hungary.
In Italy, the mafia is a seperate private syndicate, even if some members of the government are also part of the club. What makes Hungary unique within Europe, is that the Fidesz givernment doesn’t just have a few criminals in it, but is itself the mafia, entirely and completely made up of criminal thieves and liars. So not one word which any of them utters can be believed.

Guest

What a sad story to have to report to the world today, Éva, for which many thanks, as ever for your incredible and good works.
And I agree completely with Mária Vásárhelyi, that it is incomprehensible how the EU ignores the demise of democracy in a member country.

Some Hungarians think the only reason the EU tolerates having Orbán’s Hungary within its ranks is because it needs it as a buffer zone between Russia and the civilized world.
But there must be another way of dealing with the Russian threat than holding on to Hungary, a diseased and damaged limb, and as such would be best amputated.

BMO
Guest

Many thanks for the outstanding piece today Eva!

The EU strategy of retaining Hungary and creating a buffer between Russia and the West only works if Orban at least to some extent adhered to the rules of democracy, which is no longer true. The European Union has one serious problem on their hands. The “Erdoganization” of an EU democracy should not be tolerated…. If only the EU had the power to handle this in a timely manner… This will NOT end well.

Clark Davis
Guest

Apparently the Fidesz has done this before in 1998?

What really grinds my gear is that the EU has been the second largest investor in the Hungarian governments corruption next to the Hungarian tax payers and pension funds.

It’s also frightening to watch how easily a part of the Hungarian population is either manipulated, corrupted, or silenced by fear.

What really baffles me though is that what the Fidesz and Orbán does on a daily bases is far worse than anything Gyurcsány has ever done, not that I’m a Gyurcsány fan since he should have been much harder on his party members and rooted out corruption and evil pre-2006. How do the people keep swallowing all the rubbish without asking what really is going on here?

Lastly, I have no faith in a clean election in 2018 after this. They could have Fidesz loyal vote counters or even manipulate the end results of the election by just garnishing the results. With this latest move they are capable of anything and everything.

BMO
Guest
I completely agree with your commentary. Just to answer your question on the gullible masses: Government communication has been intentionally reinforcing the cheap adages that “governments have always been like this” , “it was never different”, “corruption has always been a problem, look back to XYZ” thus playing on the known phenomenon that the Hungarian population has the tendency to “price in” the cost of corruption in their votes and in the perception of various political affairs. This is facilitated by creating an illusory retrospective picture of gargantuan corruption, based on some notable cases from the 2000s (needless to say that those cases can not even come close to the magnitude of today’s reckless corruption); and by also reinforcing the toxic behavior of the communist era in which people had to ascribe their complete inability to affect the political reality. When you consider how much less the average Hungarian voter is informed than their Western counterparts, it is hardly a revelation that these two aforementioned factors are more than enough to discourage such voters from undertaking any action to protest decisions they do not agree with. If you are to spend 15 minutes a day seeking information, you would be… Read more »
Observer
Guest

It is easy to achieve propaganda effect, if you are the only one talking.
A study two years ago (sorry no link) came up with a figure of 92% for the Fidesz/public media, If I remember well, this was an index counting the number of printed copies sold (including the Metropol free publication) and listeners/viewers, not just the number of publications or stations. I think the internet was not included.

This king of propaganda is like hunting in the zoo.

Member

I wholeheartedly agree with the bitter words of Vásárhelyi however painful they may be. The EU must not have stood by the hustling of such a criminals.
While our responsibility is unquestionable in putting them into power, so is theirs not voicing and acting against them. It is too late now. The regime would be willing to get out from the EU had the money-tap been closed and join Russia or whatever smelly regime they could find for financing their dirty criminal business, putting the blame on the EU, of course. They have every propaganda machinery to effectively do all this.

Ferenc
Guest
Following what yesterday happened, I did some researching about Mediaworks: Mediaworks Zrt (established 2014.Oct.01) coming from merger between Hungarian publishers Ringier and Axel Springer (Lumen Hungary Holding Zrt., started 2014.Jan-Jul) -from the start Népszabadság was part of their portofolio and mentioned as “the market leading broadsheet paper” -owned by Austrian company Vienna Capital Partners (VCP) -CEO: Balázs Rónai (from 2015.Jun.01 till 2016.Oct.08?), experience in Hungarian media (prior was http://www.napi.hu Online Kft) -CFO+dep.CEO: Katona Viktor (from start 2014.Oct.01 till present), experience in financial business (currently involved in Vienna Capital Partners, the owner!, previous a.o.BorsodChem Zrt) -So acc.info from http://nol.hu/ , Mediaworks is now managed by the former financial director, who doesn’t have any experience in running a media company, and his main priority is reshaping business model of Népszabadság the owner: Vienna Capital Partners, VCP (Austrian company, “independent financial advisor in Central and South-Eastern Europe”) Found Hungarian connections in VCP: -senior partner (i.e.the boss) Heinrich Pecina (Autrian) Mr.Pecina since 2005 (or earlier) involved in BorsodChem (Hungarian company in plastics), currently member of board -member of International Advisory Board Martonyi János (1998-2002 and 2010-2014 Minister of Foreign Affairs, member of Fidesz -apart from being CFO of Mediaworks found no other mention of… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

PS: in a M1 newsitem yesterday, I more or less understood that some time ago (when?) a MSZP related company (true?) has sold Népszabadság
Anybody knows more and can clarify this?

webber
Guest

Nepszabadsag used to be MSZP’s paper – that is true. The MSZP-company sold it to pay off debts – and sold it for good money to a foreign firm.
That paper could have been sold again.

N.b. Party-afiliation is the norm in much of Europe.
In Britian, The Guardian is affiliated with the Labour Party. The Telegraph is affiliated with Conservatives.
Magyar Nemzet was Fidesz’s paper until Simicska, the owner, broke with the party. Now Magyar Idok is Fidesz’s paper.

Ferenc
Guest

OK thanks! So understood what they told …., only happy for that ……
Do you know more details (time and names) about the way from MSZP to he current owner?

webber
Guest

It’s all online. First MSZP sold it, then it existed under foreign ownership, then Fidesz bought into the owning company.

Guest

The Guardian affiliated to the Labour Party? Nem!

That may be your personal perception based on your political prejudices – but the Guardian is fiercely independent and is a beacon of independence.

For most of its life it has been branded a liberal left newspaper with allegiances to no one – it ploughs its own lonely integrity furrow.

It’s the CP Scott trust that has kept it so since the Peterloo Massacre in 1821.

In the spectrum of great journalism to gutter press, it is a paragon of virtue in England.

I don’t quite know how Blinker will manage to insinuate this into her warped sense of Brexit propaganda – but she’ll probably give it a good try.

Bowen
Guest

Agreed. The Guardian is hardly affiliated to the Labour Party …

Guest
And yes – World Questions was a bit of a damp squib. Jonathan Dimbleby was not fully briefed and failed to follow up on facets that might have connected with the audience – and having an European Greek representative broke up any cohesion the program may have had. Csak was an incoherent disgrace – adding nothing of any substance and appeared to go off on a surreal journey – only understandable to himself. Jonathan did however cut him off. Chief Lying Toad Kovács was the biggest fool on a panel discussion program I have ever experienced – and not because of my inherent bias. He refused to comment on one discussion – just said he didn’t want to contribute! He chided another saying “sit down” and told a women audience contribututor that her views were wrong! He has no idea how to behave except as an authoritarian teacher. And an intolerant politician who is part of an autocracy, and if he wants a citizen’s view – he’ll give it to them. Oh that’s a coincidence! Because he is an intolerant politician who is part of an autocracy, and if he wants a citizen’s view – he’ll give it to them.… Read more »
PALIKA
Guest

This is an intelligent and well observed contribution. Keep it up

Guest

Which part of:

“I don’t quite know how Blinker will manage to insinuate this into her warped sense of Brexit propaganda – but she’ll probably give it a good try.”

……chimed most with you?

webber
Guest

Palika extended a palm to you. You don’t have to shake it, but there’s no need to spit in it.

Guest

webber, you seem to have a ‘sarcasm’ blindness (not to mention ‘patronising’)- which you have previously acknowledged is hard to detect in the written word.

Turn your metre on and it will light up like a fireworks display.

And now expect Blinker to capitalise on this.

PALIKA
Guest

Dear boy, what is the treatment for paranoia? The compliment was genuine. No sarcasm was meant. It seems you have a bit of a personality problem. Maybe you need some friends

Guest

You misjudge a situation with your supercilious piousness like nothing I’ve experienced before.
Must be your hungarianess.
And you have the monopoly on paranoia on here.

PALIKA
Guest

I agree, Webber is off form today, quite seriously. Maybe he has a hangover

webber
Guest

🙂 I never have a hangover.
Apparently you still support Trump?

gdfxx
Guest

Sold again? Reminds me of the old joke about the volume of commerce between Hungary (or any other member of the Warsaw pact) and the USSR. It was $10 trillion. Hungary provided the USSR with two dead cats worth $5000 billion each and received in exchange a dead dog, worth $10,000 billion.

How much is a paper worth with its 38,000 subscribers and no advertisers but lots of expenses?

Ferenc
Guest

PS2: last friday (?) there was an internet action (“internetes vásárlás napja 2016”) giving -40% discount for a.o. Népszabadság (it was also adverted on NOL.hu facebook page), see http://lapcentrum.hu/internetes-vasarlas-napja
Pure coincidence? Any relation between lapcentrum and aove mentioned companies??

Ferenc
Guest

Some questions/remarks coming from the posted article itself:
-what’s the last TV debate in which Orbán Viktor participated? (is it the one he lost in 2006)
-blamimg the European Union, well I don’t know, don’t think the EU can vote in any Hungarian elections
-Hungarians offered Orbán Viktor and company the posibility to use UE financing as he/they wish, and who doesn’t accept that happening: DO ALL YOU CAN AGAINST THAT!!!

Member

“blamimg the European Union, well I don’t know, don’t think the EU can vote in any Hungarian elections”

Oh, please! You know just as well that the EU has its own tools for making politics happen.

“Hungarians offered Orbán Viktor and company the posibility to use UE financing as he/they wish”
Definitely not true the part “as they wish”: there are rules to follow and none of them “steal as much as you wish”.

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PALIKA
Guest
There is not much room for arguing that OV was not behind the closure of the paper. Last evening’s BBC World Questions debate made no mention of this directly because I think it was pre recorded probably on Wednesday. The programe which suffered from a number of stultifying defects also provided some valuable insights. The audience which was clearly handpicked from the Budapest crowd was unbalanced judging from the audience questions and reactions. I do not fault this because it is difficult to find any educated person who is also an Enhlish speaker in Budapest who is not a sworn opponent of OV’s crowd. By the same token it is difficult to find in London educated people who are Brexit supporters. The panel selection clearly showed the difficulty of open debate in a country which has no tradition of such. The most articulate member of the panel was the Greek professor who was circumscribed by the not so latent threat that he, as a foreigner should not poke his nose, however author active, into Hungarian politics. Admittedly it is not often we hear non UK panelists on Any Questions which I suppose as a national icon must remain parochial. I… Read more »
webber
Guest

“Ambassador Katalin Bogyay who represents Hungary at the UN is a distinguished diplomat.”
You have got to be kidding.
The only thing to say in Bogyay’s favour is that she is more eloquent in her defense of the indefensible than most Fideszniks. To me, that makes her even worse than the average fool – she’s intelligent enough to know. She is every bit as foul as Schöpflin, and like Schöpflin she defends Fidesz’s abuses in every forum possible..

PALIKA
Guest

Webber you are clearly wrong, but it would be entertaining to see the evidence. I cannot wait.

webber
Guest

Start from here, and follow it for yourself. By this time even you must admit, your judgement about politicians is not of the best (I can’t forget what you said about Trump – sorry).
http://www.kultura.hu/kultpol/magyar-elnokot

PALIKA
Guest

Well, I have read this. The Ambassador was elected by the assembly of the international organisation as its president as a sign of recognition of her qualities and contribution. As a Hungarian you should be proud of her achievement as indeed I am.
So, Webber, where is the evidence that supports your denigration of the distinguishe Ambassador? You have made an unwarranted assertion. An honourable person would produce the evidence or apologise. So, which is it to be?

webber
Guest

Are you the ambassador?
I stand by my words (I have met her).

webber
Guest

And it is my opinion, no matter how much you deplore it. You may have your opinion about Trump, no matter how much I deplored your words.

PALIKA
Guest

Forget Trump for the minute.
You have met the Ambassador. That is not evidence to support your opinion. What did she write, say or do that justifies you calling in question her abilities and performance in a genuine sense? Remembering, of course, that a diplomat as diplomat has a duty to represent the instructions of her government. So what is the criticism either in the way she performs her job or in her words, writings and actions outside that area?

webber
Guest

Palika – follow it up for yourself, as I said.
A few questions for you:
Do you celebrate the last Hungarian who was in a similar position in the UN? Kádár’s appointee?
Do you celebrate Soviet Ambassadors to the UN for their wisdom, their good manners? Do you celebrate the work of Soviet Cultural institutes for presenting the world the wonders of Soviet art and technology?
You don’t? Why not, I wonder…? (or rather, I don’t – I don’t celebrate them either).
There are plenty of reasons to despise people who decide to represent this government in public fora, or to take positions from this government and, indeed, just to accept state awards from a government which gives such awards to anti-semites such as Bayer.

Observer
Guest

Palika,

There were some been good man in the Waffen SS, said an Austrian politician once and he was ostracized.

No man/woman serving the Orban mafia is good, unless they can prove otherwise.

Member

The remaining independent, democratic paper Népszava has started a petition.

http://www.peticiok.com/vissza_a_nepszabadsagot_vissza_a_sajtoszabadsagot

For me, I don´t like the term ‘opposition paper’.
A democratic, independent paper is naturally in opposition to Orbans` dictatorship.

webber
Guest

For me the term “opposition paper” is a badge of honour.

Member

Of course, these days in Hugary it is heroic to be in opposition.

But if I read these term in geman or english press, it could be misundertood, because it could mean e.g. that it is just the left that is in opposition to the right.
To be in opposition doesn’t mean exactly to be on the right side.
If You use ‘independent’ or ‘democratic’ You clarify that this is not normal.

A Wanker
Guest
Dear Hungarian Spectrum Readers and Distinguished Eva Balogh, I think I have come up with a solution that could put an end to this mess that Hungary is confronted with! Let’s all become Fidesz supporters and put our hands out and wait for the funds to come! This way all of us will get a slice of the pie. Let the EU work and we’ll build fences out of sausages. Why spend all this time fighting when we all could take the time to write a personal letter to Orbán Viktor and ask for some cash. Just say it’s for writing a book about how great he and the Fidesz party is and why it’s the best government on Earth, no wait, Earth and Mars at least. Don’t forget to add a postscript that you want your own helicopter that you could fly to meetings with your own political party or newspapers or to court with your own assigned judge because the local city council wont allow you to build a train station and a few football stadiums. Oh and don’t forget to mention that your overseas bank-account needs a top off. No respectable oligarch should have anything less than… Read more »
webber
Guest

Berlusconi summarized what is wrong with that: He explained, during a helicopter flight, something along the lines of this – if he ten ten packages of one million forints out of the helicopter, ten people would love him forever, but if he threw ten 10 m. Euros out in 1 Euro coins, ten million people would only like him a little bit for a very short time.
Allegedly the helicopter pilot then said “And if we threw you out of the helicopter, we could make everyone happy forever.”
I cannot imagine a Hungarian helicopter pilot being brave enough to say something that funny to Orbán.

webber
Guest

“if he threw” (not “if he ten”) above.

Guest

This is clearly not Latefor – more than two words without a spelling error.

Hard to fathom the message though – unfortunate, unnecessarily vulgar soubriquet – even for an apparent Australian.

Have I missed the point – apart from the irony?

Strange.

webber
Guest

it was pure irony, and very funny I thought.
This time, even I got the irony – and I usually miss it.

Latefor
Guest

To Charlie with love:
My recently released book is available on Amazon.com.

Title: The Adventures of Electra Sittie, 2025

👆 Icouldntfindtheonewiththe middlefingerup!

Member

There is no doubt this was ordered by Orban. This was part of purchase price. It didn’t make any business sense to kill off the flagship brand.

There is another very saddening aspect of this. It is such a good business to invest into the Hungarian ignorance, hatred and apathy. The regional papers are very profitable. Fidesz propaganda mixed with tabloid trash, sprinkled with a little local news and money is pouring in. The turbo-Hungarian right has absolutely no problem outsourcing the propaganda machine. So much about independence.

But something is brewing. Salgotarjan, a small town, with opposition leadership, canceled all contracts yesterday with Mediaworks. This will not come cheap to Orban.

webber
Guest

Népszabadság actually made a profit last year! It made 134m forints in profit. So, they lied about that as a reason for closing the paper – and they lied about quite a few other things as well. Story here:
http://index.hu/belfold/2016/10/09/sulyos_logikai_buktatok_a_nepszabadsag_megszuntetese_korul/

Guest

Re: Ms. Vasarhely’s comment on the abrupt dissolution of a major paper

She directly points to one of the crucial reasons. Here is an observation from another ‘assessor’ of political life back in the late 18th those early days of democracy in America:

‘The habit of inattention is the greatest defect of democratic character’. …….Toqueville

The EU appears to be fulfilling Toqueville’s view….. egregiously. They need to wake up from their sleep if they don’t want the Magyar ‘cancer’ to metastasize in the region. Orban now in a way is showing his cards. It’s up to them to know how to play theirs at the rickety table.

Guest

But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell!

Guest

Right on! You know ‘yer blooze!’

And to move to just a slightly different musical motif I think this can be a hit once again on the banks of the Donau if things keep going on…😎

http://youtu.be/D1ZYhVpdXbQ

Guest

Yes! A stylish riposte!

Hopefully not bursting any bubbles – but our Morecome and Wise sent it up remorselessly.

(Unfortunately the BBC have cleared it off the internet – but this clip gives you a flavour…..)

https://youtu.be/iCQP8WGeGuk

(And if you think it’s worth it try and find ‘Morecome and Wise – Shirley Bassey with boots! It’s up there with Fawlty Towers in the annuls of TV comedy.)

Guest

Hilarious! That M &W. And ‘Fawlty Towers’…

Come to think of it while watching ‘Waldorf Salad’ that might appear to be the situation Magyars face in Orban’s FT resort where you can see the wildebeasts running in the distance.

VO as Basil try as he may will only view his clientele as guests guided to only a menu and service of his making. Any veering from that or complaint gives Basil rein to respond with a sneering rejoinder. Guest waiting for their course: : ‘Excuse me there are two lambs here! Basil: I’ll have them removed if they’re bothering you! He’s got a hotel to run! He’s not interested in ‘guest’ requests.

The American guests make him work hard when they want a meal and ‘screwdrivers’ and that ‘Waldorf Salad’. But Basil doesn’t know what it is and just can’t get away from the demand of making one.
Guest: ‘I want a Waldorf salad! Basil: Whats that a walnut that’s gone ‘off’? No! It’s CELERY, APPLES, WALNUTS, GRAPES in a MAYONNAISE SAUCE! And while you’re at it give me some filet mignons! Now that’s speaking up…;-)…..

Guest

Re: the Nepszabadsag journalists and reporters

Perhaps a pipe dream but maybe they can do their work in Poland or somewhere else out of the country? A paper in exile. Supposedly the Poles and Magyars think of themselves as ‘buddies’. But on second thought I guess one would have to be the ‘right’ kind of Magyar to get that pulled off with those guardians of democratic traditions.

Janos Mandarin
Guest

This is a brilliant article.

Doy
Guest

Eva is umber 1.

Sztív
Guest

Let’s be clear, in an advertising market where the government is the biggest advertiser (no not Procter and Gamble) and that government is willing and able to spend 3 times the annual losses of Népszabadság on promoting their agenda in a referendum then it is the government that decides which media are profitable and which make losses. They are the market.

Observer
Guest

The gov spent on referendum propaganda something like 15 billion Ft. = 10 years Népsz losses, not 3 years. Of course a significant part of this public money ended up in the pockets of the Orban mafia.

Ferenc
Guest

Here’s a good story: http://444.hu/2016/10/08/orban-ugy-szerzi-meg-a-nepszabadsag-kiadojat-hogy-massal-vegezteti-el-a-piszkos-munkat

Main things short:
-for some tome rumours about OV/Fidesz interest in MediaWorks, especially the 2016.Sep.30 achieved regional papers
-friday everybody at Nepszabadsag had to pack everything in boxes for move to new office
-on sunday afternoon they were invited to go the the new office, there would be a sort of celebration, and they could start working
-saturday morning most of them received a registered letter with the news that work for Nepszabadsag was suspended
AUthor of article thinks following happened:
-OV/Fidezz bought MediaWorks, but didn’t want Nepszabadsag
-it was decided that best it could be closed
-MediaWorks CEO didn’t accept this, and was sacked (at the spot?)
-things were organised by the remaining management

What should be done now, is get proof of any of the above!!
1.Get the sacked CEO and the Austrian (former?) owner talking about their side of all of this
2.Keep checking what happens with MediaWorks, ownership, management etc.

Another thing of interest: since when the moving to the new office was known by the people at Nepszabadsag? That would put things in a clear timeframe.

Ferenc
Guest

PS: would be nice if phone-taps and Emails of people involved could be available……. Something the NSA could provide??

tappanch
Guest

Further media news:

Orban’s tabloid journalist friend Peter Hajdu will have his own permanent program on ATV from tonight.

http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20161008-jon-jon-jon-hajdu-peter-vasarnap-ter-vissza-az-atv-n

sztrovacsek
Guest

Why did MSZP sell Népszabadsag in the first place??

I go further. When MSZP sold its last remaining stock it knew exactly that Népszabi was going to end up in Fidesz’ hands. Yet MSZP sold it. Since the paper was loss making for long years the party could’ve bought back the majority of the stock cheaply.

MSZP sold everything and never thought about investing in media. In other words it never thought about investing in access to voters.

Now the left-wing is entirely reliant on a niche cable channel owned by a socially very conservative Christina church and has no print or other media to speak of.

The leftists parties basically have no access to rural voters. By the way Fidesz also purchased a portfolio of provincial daily newspapers.

There’s no cure against stupidity.

webber
Guest

Wrong! (nice try Fidesznik)
MSZP sold it to a foreign company, and did not – could not – know it would end up in Fidesz’s hands.

sztrovacsek
Guest

OK there is a difference between knowing and suspecting.

But Fidesz was on record wanting to purchase every conceivable media.

Some of the foreign media owners knew that they were gonna end up selling to Fidesz but wanted deniability so it was in their interest too to use some strómen.

Everybody knew that only Fidesz was actually buying media because except for RTL nobody else had the tenacity to go against Fidesz which used many tricks to make life harder for media owners. So if somebody wanted to sell a media company then there was really nobody to buy besides the oligarchs.

Also Heinrich Pecina is a well-known front and money launderer for former communist block oligarch including Hungarians.

What I want to say is that MSZP unless it is just a bunch of idiots should’ve suspected the eventual outcome. All the more so because the people who decided about the sale are suspected by many to be in Fidesz’ pockets. So take your pick was it corruption or cluelessness?

webber
Guest

I believe when MSZP sold it, not too many people thought Fidesz would buy up all critical media. Hindsight is great, but not too many people saw this horror coming.

tappanch
Guest

“The journalists and editors of Népszabadság are disappointed to learn that its Publisher is not willing to publish the paper or its website. This would have been in the basic economic interest of the owner of the Publisher and its newsroom as well. The newsroom refuses to assume responsibility for any economic or moral damage that may result from the Publisher’s decision. We want to continue discussions with the Publisher’s representatives.

The newsroom is united and wants to continue working together. Our aim is to maintain press freedom in Hungary, which is essential for democracy. We will resist any economic or political pressure that undermines it.”

https://www.facebook.com/nepszabadsagszerkesztoseg/

Ferenc
Guest

Is it known WHO the publisher’s representatives are?? Get the names into the open!!

gdfxx
Guest

What a stupid text.

How does the newsroom know what the basic economic interest of the owner or publisher is?

Why would the newsroom be responsible for any economic or moral damage? They did nothing except for producing a publication that loses money.

The newsroom being united and wanting to continue to work together is empty talk. If they get to an agreement with the publisher, it will probably result in a reduction of personnel.

Press freedom is good. But if nobody wants to finance it in its recent Nepszabadsag incarnation, some other ways must be found. Financially viable ways.

webber
Guest

For gdfxx – read the story below please and stop repeating Fidesz nonsense (turn off MTV1!) – Népszabadság was profitable. They lied about it losing money, and as you’ll see when you read this, they lied about a lot of other things, some of which you are repeating here.
http://index.hu/belfold/2016/10/09/sulyos_logikai_buktatok_a_nepszabadsag_megszuntetese_korul/

tappanch
Guest

Nepszabadsag was profitable last year. The closure of this political daily, which has the largest circulation in the country was the political decision of the regime.

tappanch
Guest

Where can I find the most complete archive of nol.hu ??

webber
Guest

Online, I don’t know, but Szabó Ervin Library in Budapest has every copy ever printed bound and on its shelves, most of them on the open shelves. The copies from this year are surely not bound yet, but will be.
OSZK would have all copies too, and probably Debrecen University Library (which is a national library of record, like OSZK). There are surely one or two more libraries outside of Budapest with all copies.

tappanch
Guest

The libraries will also be purged ….

webber
Guest
That I doubt. Certainly they haven’t done anything like that yet. Not a single Hungarian government, ever, has tried to eliminate all copies of printed material from libraries. The communists had lists of things that were hidden away in restricted sections of the libraries, and they removed certain books altogether from local libraries, but they didn’t destroy the last copies of things in the libraries of record. Horthy’s crowd didn’t either. Still, the communists had a sense of the importance of history (they thought they were the culmination of it, after all), and I am not sure whether Orban and his people have any sense or even sanity. The one government I know of that was definitely caught trying to do that sort of thing was Ceausescu’s. His regime had securitate agents visit foreign libraries, borrow and then destroy copies of books they thought were dangerous or offensive – such as Carp’s report on the Holocaust in Romania, with details about Romanian official’s involvement. Fortunately, they did not get all copies of that book or of any other book. There were some rumours that Milosevic’s secret service was doing the same thing – an American historian claimed that there were… Read more »
Guest

tappanch?

Maybe you should invest in a multi-terrabyte hard drive and start downloading the internet pages of threatened papers now?

A sort of ‘library of Congress Tappanch’

You could do this with the KSH data series too!

(Shut up, Charlie – he’s already doing it.)

Member
Member

Certainly not that complete, but quite close.

gdfxx
Guest

It was profitable last year but barely and it lost much larger amounts than last year’s profits the previous years. Decisions about closing a part of a company are not made based on a single year’s results. Do you know what the expected results for this year were? It’s almost the end of the year and the owners do know.

It is possible that the government had a hand in this closure, although I have not seen any proof of it. The owner is an Austrian company, as far as I can see, the same people ran it since they took over the Nepszabadsag, why didn’t they just turn it to the right as others did it with Magyar Hirlap, if this happened based on a “decision of the regime”?

For webber: I did read the index article and I reacted to it elsewhere, replying to you. That is where one can read that yes, last year they made 134 million forints but they lost about 2.5 billion forints the previous three years. And again, do you know what this year’s financial picture is expected to be?

webber
Guest

Anybody who thinks that suddenly closing a newspaper which made money last year without first trying to sell it is a wise financial move knows less than nothing about doing business. Not only does the owner lose the money he/she might have realized from the sale, but the owner will have to return a huge amount of money to advertisers and subscribers.
And shutting down the website, which had fantastic daily traffic (as you demonstrated, gdfxx) is just an idiotic move from a financial point of view.

tappanch
Guest

“A European advocate for media says that the closure of Hungary’s main opposition newspaper is a “huge blow” to the country’s media diversity and press freedoms.

Dunja Mijatovic, media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Sunday that it’s “hard to believe” that the apparent end of the Nepszabadsag daily newspaper was solely a business decision.

She says that the deterioration in Hungary of media diversity was a bad example for countries hoping to join the European Union.

Mijatovic also told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Vienna that the European Commission “should pay greater attention to the issues related to press freedom in Hungary.””

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/806c31be65674146904176b33a1483e1/media-advocate-hungary-paper-closure-blow-press-freedoms

webber
Guest

This is such an obvious and egregious example of an assault on media freedom that even Jobbik has condemned it – and Jobbik did NOT like Népszabadság one bit. They hate the paper. But hats off to them for condemning its closure, in no uncertain terms.

gdfxx
Guest

Instead of these “hard to believe” statements it would be much more useful for some people or organizations to do some investigative journalism and come up with the facts. I am surprised all the unemployed Nepszabadsag journalists are not coming up with something. It would be more useful than protesting, which in Hungary is ignored or ridiculed by most.

webber
Guest

How could you have been surprised? They hardly heard the news of their redundancy, and you expect reports already. By now you should admit that they’ve come up with quite a bit, given the short amount of time.
Why have you been so down on these people, and so obviously doubtful about what happened? It’s weird – as if you had a Fidesz gremlin working inside you from time to time, when you write this stuff.

tappanch
Guest

Hungarian writers protest the closure of Nepszabadsag:

“[We demand] the freedom of the press and democracy !”

https://www.facebook.com/events/302536710126512/

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