Editorial board, more than 60 reporters resign at Index

Analysis

More than 60 journalists working at leading independent news portal Index.hu, including current managing editor Attila Tóth-Szenesi and deputy editors Veronika Munk and János Haász, handed in their resignation today, after the portalʼs management failed to reinstate recently sacked editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull.

After the firing of Dull earlier this week, the news portal published an announcement calling the decision by László Bodolai, chairman of the Foundation for Hungarian Progress which owns the portal, unacceptable.

"For years, weʼve 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," the letter says.

Bodolai claimed that Dull had leaked a preparatory document and that "in the past couple of days," he was no longer able to control or stop internal processes at the news portal. 

The portalʼs editorial staff asked Bodolai to reinstate Dull in order to secure the independence and future of Index, which he refused.

Reacting to the refusal, the portalʼs editorial board said that the conditions for independent operation are no longer in place adding that they have initiated the termination of their employment.

Two years ago, Index created a website tracking whether the portalʼs own staff think their independence is in danger. The pointer of a meter below the heading "Index is currently:" indicates "independent" (in green), "in danger" (yellow), or "not independent" (in red).

"We wanted to cut through the fog of rumors and conspiracy theories and have a way to unmistakeably let our readers know when we think there is trouble. Now there is trouble. The staff and independence of Index are in grave danger," then-editor-in-chief Dull wrote in June, when the pointer was moved from the green area to the yellow.

"Index is under such external pressure that could spell out the end of our editorial staff as we know it. We are concerned that with the proposed organizational overhaul, we will lose those values that made Index.hu the biggest and most-read news site in Hungary," he added at the time.

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