The collapse of Index – Orbán is dismantling independent media

Hungary’s authoritarian regime is showing its true intentions. The government has declared zero tolerance against independent media outlets voicing criticism of government policies.

In 2016 Orbán engineered the shutdown Hungary’s largest broadsheet newspaper, Népszabadság. The official story was “declining sales” and the ruling Fidesz party beamed that the shutdown was “a rational economic decision.”  Népszabadság was not in immediate financial danger and got the ax after it criticized Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s anti-migrant referendum.

Using the same technique recently Mr. Miklós Vaszily, a pro-Orbán oligarch purchased a 50% stake in a company controlling Index, Hungary’s largest news portal.  Soon the portal reported reduced revenues and editor-in-chief Mr. Szabolcs Dull was dismissed. The journalists protested.  Index had no financial problems and they demanded Dull’s reinstatement.  After the owner’s representatives refused to do so, almost the entire staff and management have resigned.

For all practical purposes Index, the country’s largest independent news portal collapsed.

The editorial staff published a letter: “For years, we’ve been saying that there are two conditions for the independent operation of Index: that there be no external influence on the content we publish or the structure and composition of our staff. Firing Szabolcs Dull violates our second condition,” they wrote.

Now Orbán is trying to control the Hungarian emigree media in North America.  Millions were spent to establish new English and Hungarian language outlets and spread Orbanism, a mix of nationalism and Christian White Supremacy in the US and Canada.

  • The government established a Diaspora Council and recruited loyal pro-Orbán emigrees.   Members receive a lavish trip to Budapest and are asked to “defend the reputation of Hungary” and write pro-Orbán “Letters to the Editor” to newspapers in Canada and the US.
  • Budapest is also using the so called Kőrösi Csoma Program to bring loyal Hungarian journalists to the US circumventing official channels.  Since US Law requires a “Media Visa” for entry of journalists they are sponsored as folk dancers or language teachers.
  • Using the Bethlen Program Hungary actually makes direct payments as so called “grants” to pro-Orbán radio stations and news portals in the US and Canada. A good example is the Bocskai Radio in Cleveland operating at John Carroll University.

The Hungarian Free Press is a non-partisan news source, we welcome all contributions reflecting the democratic values: Read more about this here.

The Hungarian Free Press does not receive or accept support from the Hungarian Government and we support Index and the independence of Hungarian media.

“Free Country – Free Press” Hungarian demonstration for press freedom in Budapest on July 24.

5 Comments

  1. Don Hermiston says:

    If the Media in Hungary is as disgraceful as the Media in most of Europe and North America, Orban should be lauded for getting rid of a barrel of lies.

  2. Pierre Divenyi says:

    We should all look out for these folk dancers and language teachers. If we see articles in the media published by these characters, we should report them to ICE as operating under falsely declared occupation. I would love to see them interned in one of those ICE prisons.

  3. Gyula Bognar says:

    One could wonder about the reason, why the owner of a so-called opposition media would sell any portion of his/her share in that media? If the viktor could not buy a paper, radio station, or TV station, the opposition would remain in the “proper” hands, isn’t it?

  4. An old joke: What is the difference between SU and US? The difference is whether you read it from left to right, or rigt to left.

    Decades ago no one would believe, that the cry for Nepszabadsag will come from America. Nepszabadsag, the central organ of the Hungarian Communist Party brandmarked the history of Sovietised Hungary from 1949 until its economic collapse, and outprofiling by Austrian investor some years ago.

    Index, the so-called “independent” portal was obviously pro-Momentum party organ, while its curatorium is clearly an MSZP (former Communist Party) asset. A number of interesse conflicts arised with redaction therefore. No wonder, on the picture above you see the complete Momentum leadership protesting, while MSZP and Gyurcsany released dodonian statements. You may guess why.

  5. It seems to me Index was just taken over financially by an investor. Nothing out of the ordinary here. The fact that there is an ideological shift of the Hungarian media is also a delayed reflection of the views of the population. Media caters to the population. Same as the overwhelming flavor of the Western media is Neo Marxist-Globalist, Progressive, PC Woke and so on.

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