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Gov’t commissioner buys weekly Figyelő

Historian and government commissioner Mária Schmidt has purchased Hungarian independent weekly Figyelő, the official said in an interview with news portal The purchase raises the question of whether Figyelő will tone down its editorial coverage; its analyses and investigative reports have recently been critical of the government.

“Quality, fairness and moderation” will be the key ideology under which the news magazine will be reorganized, she told the online paper. She added that she is primarily a financial investor at Figyelő, which would not have survived without her purchase, due to its financial difficulties. She said that employees of the paper are now “getting another chance”.

Mediacity, the publisher of the magazine, had losses of HUF 183 million on net revenue of HUF 634.5 million in 2015; a liquidation process was launched against it on November 4 of that year.

The purchase means another formerly independent media outlet has come closer to the governing Fidesz party and its allies. It joins the ranks of those now said to be owned by Fidesz-friendly business people including, Magyar Idők (formerly Napi Gazdaság), the countrywide portfolio of the publisher of former daily Népszabadság (the leftwing daily is currently not being published), second biggest commercial television channel TV2, and commercial channel Echo TV.