Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet to be shut down

Two days after the elections, anti-Orban oligarch Lajos Simicska decided to shut down to outlets of his media portfolio.

It was announced on Tuesday morning that 80-year-old newspaper Magyar Nemzet will be last published on 11 April, and Lanchid Radio goes off the air at midnight 10 April. The owners explained their decision with financial problems.

Local weekly hvg.hu has learned that changes are afoot at broadcaster HírTV, as well. There will be rationalisation at the TV and programmes that run their course will not be renewed, Portfolio reports, adding that “according to official data, Magyar Nemzet was published in 13,608 copies in the fourth quarter of 2017, which is one third of the copies published before February 2015. The broadcasting licence of Lánchíd Radio would have expired at the end of October this year”.

Later today, green LMP politician Peter Ungar, who inherited a significant fortune from his late father, made an offer for Magyar Nemzet, Lanchid Radio and weekly Heti Valasz. Confirming rumours in a Facebook post, Ungar wrote that it’s the existence of these government-critical, patriotic and high quality outlets is Hungary’s national interest.

All three outlets are owned by Lajos Simicska, a former college friend of Viktor Orban, who also used to be the cashier of his party, Fidesz. As the South East European Media Observatory reminds, Simicska media was “serving the interests of Fidesz along the right-wing political cleavage”. But there was a shift in 2015: after an argument and “break up” with Orban, Simicska called the prime minister “scum”, and “ever since, the long-standing political bastions of the empire became more and more critical to the governing Fidesz party”. During the 2018 election campaign, Simicska said he will vote for the strongest opposition party, Jobbik. On Sunday, Fidesz won another two-thirds majority in the parliament and Jobbik became the strongest opposition party with almost 20 %.

Source: Hungary Journal/Portfolio

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