Former Népszabadság journalists eye new paper

Parliament

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The former editor-in-chief of Népszabadság, the biggest left-leaning newspaper abruptly closed down by its publisher in early October, has been reported to be negotiating with foreign investors in the hope of launching a new daily from March 2017 employing the former paper’s editorial staff.

András Murányi, the former chief editor, confirmed to Hungary’s biggest commercial TV channel RTL Klub that negotiations are underway with foreign investors on establishing a paper with the former staff of Népszabadság. He added that a decision could be made in two to three weeksʼ time. 

Meanwhile, the Népszabadság title has not been eliminated officially, Hungarian news portal index.hu reported, and it has been suggested that the new owners of the paper could yet revive it. However, Murányi claimed that the new owners of Népszabadság have not approached the former staff to negotiate a relaunch. Gábor Liszkay, the CEO-chairman of Népszabadság’s new owner, told RTL Klub that “if a decision is made, the relevant people will be informed in the first instance, and not RTL Klub.”

Just a few days after hastily shutting down the paper, without first informing journalists, publisher Mediaworks was reported to have sold its portfolio to Hungarian firm Opimus Press, which has been widely reported to be close to government-friendly oligarch Lőrinc Mészáros - although Mészáros has denied involvement in the firm.

Mediaworks shut down Népszabadság for what it claimed were economic reasons, but journalists and opposition figures have described the decision as purely political, pointing to sensitive articles the paper carried about politicians affiliated with governing party Fidesz in the period leading up to the paperʼs closure.

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