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New Fidesz-friendly media outlets foreseen

According to reports, a new right-wing media empire is being put together to replace media outlets that have become less government-friendly since the split between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and media oligarch Lajos Simicska. One report suggests that Fidesz associate Árpád Habony (pictured) will run these outlets.

Online daily hvg.hu reports that Századvég group, a think tank closely affiliated with Orbánʼs ruling Fidesz party, is planning to transform its online and print daily, napi.hu and Napi Gazdaság, into a media platform that could replace Magyar Nemzet and mno.hu, Simicskaʼs media outlets.

The editorial staff leaving Simicska’s empire will reportedly be employed by the new media outlets, Hungarian online daily index.hu said, citing a report by Heti Válasz, which is owned by Simicska.

While public TV station M1 has become an all news station, in an apparent attempt to replace Simicksaʼs all-news Hír TV, the stationʼs role is purely to communicate what the government wishes, and its reach and audience number is not important, according to Heti Válasz.

Simicskaʼs Heti Válasz speculates that the new media empire could be led by Habony, who has been described as a personal consultant affiliated with numerous decision makers and politicians in the government.

Simicska has grown wealthy since Fidesz took power in 2010, as his media outlets have received lucrative state advertising and his construction firm Közgép has been winning big government contracts – including HUF 93 billion in 2014, more than any other government contractor last year, according to atlatszo.hu.

But disagreements about the media tax, and perhaps the plan to have a state-owned all-news TV station, apparent fueled a falling out between the oligarch and the prime minister.