Metropol publishes last issue

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The free daily newspaper Metropol, which used to be handed out at Budapest Metro stations free of charge, canceled its publication and put out its last issue yesterday, according to reports.

The paper stopped publishing half a year after reports at the end of November suggested that it could lose the contract that secured its distribution at metro stations. The move was seen as favoring a government-friendly newspaper over its competition, Metropol, according to reports.

According to an unnamed editorial staff member, the editorial staff gathered in a meeting room at the paperʼs office yesterday and were informed that the paper would not be published the following day, Hungarian daily Népszabadság reported today. Metropol has been in circulation in Budapest for the past 18 years. 

Another free daily Lokál has been distributed for the past few days at the very location where Metropol was distributed for a number of years. Lokál is allegedly owned by Árpád Habony – a close associate of government leaders, according to reports.

Metropol was published by MTG Metro Gratis Kft., which is owned by Károly Fonyó, a close business associate of Lajos Simicska. Simicska has openly opposed the government since he had a falling out with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last February.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that since Simicska’s split with Orbán, a series of government measures were taken that apparently harmed Simicskaʼs media empire. Reuters added that the prime minister could be looking for ways to increase his influence in the media before the 2018 elections.

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