The future of the Hungarian Free Press

In the age of the Internet, we have become accustomed to free and plentiful access to news, analysis and information. Some sites have gone the route of online content available only to paying subscribers. I think of Élet és Irodalom in Hungary or the New York Times in the U.S. But at the end of the day, there is an expectation that news and thought-provoking op-eds are available at our finger tips at no cost to the reader. Certainly, a volunteer-based site like the Hungarian Free Press has far lower operating costs than a legacy publication. Everyone who writes for us does so out of their personal passion for, and commitment to democratic values in Hungary and further afield. In the three years since our establishment, we have published more than 800 articles, the vast majority of which were original pieces. We are not in a position to offer honorariums and our volunteer writers have graciously accepted this reality.

But maintaining Hungarian Free Press, and our Hungarian-language sister publication, the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap, does come with some unavoidable costs and as the founder of these two publications, I realized that covering these expenses was my responsibility. There is a culture of donating to community causes in Canada; maintaining these two sites is how I have chosen over the years to spend most of the portion of my income, which I earmark each year for donations.

Yet these expenses have been climbing. It currently costs approximately C$5,000 per year to operate the two websites–the Hungarian Free Press and the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap. This includes server costs, the occasional hiring of an IT specialist when things get much too technologically hairy for this “lay” editor to handle, subscriptions to certain applications that help keep the site secure and protect it from attacks, bookkeeping and other professional fees, as well as modest advertising and promotional material for our site.

Some of our readers may have seen website hosting packages advertised for as little as a few dollars a month, so couldn’t HFP or KMH use something like this? Unfortunately, we could not. These packages are often misleadingly, advertised as offering “unlimited” bandwidth–basically, allowing for unlimited traffic to the site. In reality, there is no such thing as “unlimited.” What hosting companies mean is that they calculate an average monthly bandwidth usage for sites that they host. When a given website goes too far above this overall average, the site can no longer be hosted on a shared hosting plan, but must instead pay for either a dedicated server or for a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is how we run both the Hungarian Free Press and the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap.

Our server is one area where we cannot be especially frugal. We host our sites with a firm based in the United States that offers 24/7 technical support and response times of under 30 minutes to our questions. If there are technical problems that hinder or even shut down our site completely, these are generally resolved within a matter of hours, rather than days. We have always received speedy responses and quick solutions to technical glitches and issues. This is important for any website that reports on, or analyses current events. We cannot afford to be offline for days.

I had been encouraged in the past to provide readers with an opportunity to donate to the upkeep of our publication, but was always reticent and tried instead to generate some modest revenue from Google Adsense ads. But for the first time since I established my Hungarian site in 2004 and HFP in 2014, I am adding a donation button to this site for those readers who may consider contributing in this way. Perhaps one can think about this as a type of virtual subscription. Of course, our material will remain accessible to all, but those who choose to donate or subscribe will play a role in preserving this publication.

If you are interested in contributing, please click on the Paypal button below. You do not need a Paypal account to contribute–Paypal accepts all major credit cards. If you are not a Paypal user, just look for the “Don’t have a PayPal account?” line and the “continue” hyperlink near the bottom of the page that opens when you click on the Paypal link. Donations can be made in Canadian Dollars and the transaction will list Presszo Media Inc., our incorporated publishing company, as the recipient.

We aim to keep publishing as long as possible and to be accessible to all. Many thanks to those, however, who decide to help keep this website alive through their contributions.

To donate, please click below:




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9 Comments

  1. I think more people would donate to keep the web site if the reports were not so biased. We get it, you dislike the Orban government. It also seems that anything Soros supports, you are behind his ideas. You have not accepted the premise that Hungary does not wish to be ruled by Brussels after suffering under communism, Naziism, Austrian domination, and the domination of the Ottoman empire. There is free press in Hungary, read the articles, they are certainly critical of the government. Stop being so anti Hungary and root for its people to succeed and report the truth.

  2. Curious George says:

    Do the right thing with George boy and many will support you with money and ❤️

  3. Stranded in Sopron says:

    “You have not accepted the premise that Hungary does not wish to be ruled by Brussels….”

    Easy solution- leave the EU and please remember leave behind the begging bowl.
    Nothing (apart from Orban`s greed and hypocrisy) keeps the Hungarian regime in the EU against its will

    Regarding reporting “happy” news about Hungary- this is an independent blog, it can report anything it likes and you can decide whether to read it or not, simple.
    If you want happy news of little kids giving St Viktor flowers and never-ending sunsets over the Balaton then watch the tax-payer funded state propaganda channels.

  4. Stop hating Hungary. Instead, remain critical of it. And try not to hate comments that are critical. Every one of your readers can predict the message of a coming Lazar article: boycott this or that Hungarian event because of anti-Semitism. It is dead boring.

  5. For readers like Gombost, Mataburka or the completely rabid Istvan Gyorffy , a diehard Trumpster from HFP’s Facebook page who screams “fake news” every time an article is posted there: do you keep coming back here because you are all masochists?

    For me, HFP serves a specific niche audience: liberally and democratically minded people who take an interest in Hungary and are concerned about how this country has slipped so far into authoritarianism and how it may infect other parts of Europe too.

  6. Hungarian Free Press says:

    Many thanks to those who have contributed to our publication. In just the last day and a half, we have received $680 in contributions. Thank you!

  7. I am more than happy to send $$ support. HFP does not hate Hungary. It does offer differing views from the govt sponsored sites, for which I am glad. Of course, I do not agree with everything!

  8. Dear Adam,

    Please give a mailing address where donations in check form could be sent.
    Is HFP a 501 (c3) organisation?

  9. Thanks Mephisto! Very well stated.

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