Magyar Nemzet’s sports columnists resign
The five-member sports staff at Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet resigned from their posts to join Hungarian economic daily Napi Gazdaság, Hungarian daily Népszabadság Online reported today.
Magyar Nemzet is owned by media mogul Lajos Simicska, who earlier this year had a public falling out with his long-time ally Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and said he would change the slant of his media outlets to anti-government after being openly Fidesz-friendly for years. At the same time, the already Fidesz-friendly daily Napi Gazdaság has reportedly been going through a transformation with the aim of turning the paper into a Fidesz party organ.
Népszabadság said that the five members of the Magyar Nemzet sports staff had considered leaving ever since Simicskaʼs break with Fidesz spurred an exodus of his editorial team. Népszabadság notes that all the editorial members who left Simicska’s media outlets, including Hír TV and Lánchíd radio, have mostly been absorbed by state-owned media outlets. Népszabadság added that the majority of editors and journalists who left Magyar Nemzet have since become employed by Napi Gazdaság.
The online daily reported that, as of yesterday, the price of Napi Gazdaság dropped from HUF 340 to HUF 140 per issue, and – citing insider information – Népszabadság claimed that Napi Gazdaság would soon receive billions of forints in advertising packages from the Hungarian state. Earlier, Orbán reportedly told formerly Fidesz-friendly media outlets that all state advertising funds they had been receiving would be stopped, and that was apparently what caused Simicska’s public split with the prime minister.
News reports suggest that the Hungarian government has been working on setting up a new Fidesz-friendly media empire under the ownership of Árpád Habony, who is said to be closely affiliated with Orbán.
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