Sat, 25 May 2024

AEJ deplores abrupt closure of Népszabadság, voices concern about political motivation

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Népszabadság, Hungary’s leading daily newspaper and one of the last critical voices among the country’s national media, was suddenly closed on Saturday, prompting thousands of Budapest residents to take to the streets to protest at what many see as a new attack on press freedom in Hungary. The company that owns Népszabadság, Mediaworks, is owned by the Austrian firm Vienna Capital Partners. Mediaworks announced the closure on Saturday, saying it was working on a ‘new business model’ for the newspaper after it reportedly made ‘significant’ losses. But opponents of the Fidesz government led by prime minister Victor Orban suspect that the move may have been orchestrated by Mr Orban himself, following unconfirmed earlier reports that the government had sought to buy the newspaper, which is known for its pro-socialist stance, through a proxy or intermediary. The President of the AEJ, Austrian journalist Otmar Lahodynsky, said: ‘In my view, there was a concerted action behind the sudden closure of a newspaper which dared to criticize Orban’s government frequently. It is deeply alarming that media pluralism in Hungary has once again been restricted and that the jobs of so many journalists have put at risk as a result.”

Comment published in German on an independent online media website in Hungary:…


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