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Simicska tones down his rancor

History

Toning down his call for a "media war" that he made on Friday, Lajos Simicska said he did not order the leaders of his media empire to turn against ruling party Fidesz, nor did he ask for a dramatic shift in news coverage, Simicska's own online daily mno.hu reported early this morning. 

The media oligarch has grown wealthy since Fidesz took power in 2010, as his media outlets have received lucrative state advertising and his construction firm Közgép has been winning big government contracts – including HUF 93 billion in 2014, more than any other government contractor last year, according to atlatszo.hu.

Simicska today reportedly said that he had never asked his media outlets to involve the family of Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, and added that "my family is sacred to me, as are others' families". 

Simicska emphasized that his open, and somewhat vulgar, comments of last Friday were aimed at the politics of Orbán and his consultants, and not at Orbán himself. 

Simicska reportedly told Hungarian daily Népszabadság that he had asked for "independent news coverage" adding that he would "not interfere with the content of Magyar Nemzet and HírTV". 

The recently appointed editor-in-chief of Magyar Nemzet, Gábor D. Horváth, wrote in a press release that no one had ordered him to shift the direction of Magyar Nemzet's news coverage. "It has never been my intention to change the orientation of the paper; all of the editorial staff insist on the values of Magyar Nemzet" the editor-in-chief said, adding that "we will deliver an interesting paper that is sensitive to social issues".

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