Government-critical media to close on Wednesday

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Magyar Nemzet, the broadsheet daily newspaper founded 80 years ago which has become increasingly critical of the government in recent times, will close down on Wednesday, reportedly due to a lack of funds. Radio station Lánchíd Rádió, belonging to the same media group, will also shut down, according to reports.

Magyar Nemzet and Lánchíd Rádió both belong to 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 critical of Orbán and the ruling parties, Fidesz and the Christian Democrats (KDNP).

Shortly after the break-down of the relationship, state advertisements in Simicska-owned media disappeared and subscriptions dropped abruptly. Within one year, Magyar Nemzet, Lánchíd Rádió and other media outlets faced severe financing problems, accumulating significant losses by 2018.

On Tuesday, officials of the media portfolio announced that both the online and print editions of Magyar Nemzet will close down, with the last issue to be published tomorrow, April 11.

According to insider information released by online news portal index.hu, the Hír TV television news channel - which likewise shifted its sympathies away from Fidesz after Simicskaʼs falling out with Orbán - will perform significant cost cuts, while weekly political magazine Heti Válasz must look for a new investor, otherwise it may also be closed.

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