LMP’s Ungár makes offer for Magyar Nemzet

History

magyar nemzet

As the last edition of daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet rolled off the presses today in the wake of the shock announcement of the paperʼs closure, Péter Ungár, a newly elected MP of opposition party LMP, confirmed that he has made an offer for the paper, as well as for similarly affected magazine Heti Válasz and radio station Lánchíd.

A banner marking 80 years of publication of Magyar Nemzet, as it appears on the home page of the last online edition of the daily today.

Ungár confirmed on Tuesday evening that he had made an offer for the media organs threatened with closure, after rumors of his potential interest had spread earlier in the day, according to reports.

"It is in Hungaryʼs national interests that Magyar Nemzet, Heti Válasz and Lánchíd Rádió remain as patriotic, quality organs critical of the government," wrote the LMP politician on his Facebook page.

Confirming he had made an offer to buy and maintain the three media outlets, Ungár declined to comment further until negotiations have been concluded.

The products all belong to the media group of businessman Lajos Simicska, a former friend and ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The two parted ways acrimoniously in early 2015, and the media controlled by Simicska, until then openly pro-government, became increasingly critical of Orbán and the ruling parties.

In an opinion piece published in the last issue of Magyar Nemzet, both on the front page of the paper itself and online, Tibor Pethő, grandson of the newspaperʼs founder Sándor Pethő, recalled that Magyar Nemzet had been silenced twice before: in March 1944, when the Gestapo shut it down with the arrival of German forces, and in November 1956, when Russian troops arrived to crush Hungaryʼs Uprising.

"We will not fall silent," wrote Pethő. "We wait, we hope, and we pray. Because whoever is the owner of a newspaper, we know full well that our true ʼownerʼ is the reader. And we cannot let them down."

The last edition of the newspaper also featured the supportive opinions of a number of contributors and leading public figures on the closure, including economist Péter Róna and Péter Ákos Bod, former governor of the National Bank of Hungary.

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