Local Opinion: Hír TV Back In Government Fold

  • 3 Aug 2018 9:40 AM
  • BudaPost
Local Opinion: Hír TV Back In Government Fold
Left-wing commentators see the takeover of Hungary’s first TV news channel as a sign of mounting authoritarianism, while pro-government newspapers declare that justice has been done.

The day after the new ownership of HírTV was approved by the anti-trust authority, a new management has been named and several leading programmes have been abolished.

Nine journalists resigned and some have already been replaced by pro-government colleagues. The ‘crown jewel’ of Lajos Simicska’s media empire was founded in 2002, after the first Fidesz government was voted out of office.

It was staunchly pro-Fidesz until 2015 when the ultimate owner, former Fidesz treasurer Lajos Simicska became a bitter foe of PM Orbán.

After the third consecutive sweeping electoral victory of Fidesz in April this year, Simicska closed down some of his outlets, then sold the remaining cluster to a former associate, Zsolt Nyerges, who disagreed with his anti-Orbán campaign.

On Mérce, Gáspár Miklós Tamás describes the HírTV takeover as part of a semi-feudal system under construction by those in power.

He believes Mr Simicska was not one to capitulate easily, therefore the Marxist philosopher sees his surrender as the result of a show of force. Simicska’s media empire was set up to serve Fidesz and ‘order has been restored’ as it was made clear that no defections are tolerated.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss recalls that HírTV journalists switched sides from one day to another when Simicska turned against the government and writes that Népszava doesn’t appreciate abrupt political volte-faces.

Nevertheless, the left-wing daily sympathizes with journalists who lose their jobs, Friss concludes.

In Magyar Idők, Gábor Baranyai writes that HírTV has been ‘re-occupied by the right wing from its usurpers’.

He adds that HírTV’s number one star, Olga Kálmán has had a low audience with ratings sometimes three times lower than those of her competitor on ATV. He describes the history of HírTV over the past three years as ‘a reflection of how Mr Simicska ran amok’ after he turned against the government in 2015.

Origo’s László Gábor suggests that HírTV now has a chance to become a high standard broadcaster. In fact, he argues, it used to be ‘one of Europe’s best news TV stations before February 2015’.

This opinion does not necessarily represent the views of XpatLoop.com or the publisher. Your opinions are welcome too - for editorial review before possible publication online Click here to Share Your Story 

Related links

Hungaryʼs Hír TV Turns Pro-Government Again

Opposition Accuses Ruling Party Of 'Terror Against Free Speech'

  • How does this content make you feel?

XpatLoop Media Partner

BudaPost

Launched in May 2011 to provide a balanced picture of matters covered in Hungary’s national press. Their aim is to make it easier for English-speakers to understand where this country is now and where it’s heading according to the full spectrum of media opinions.

Explore More Reports

  • Opposition Accuses Ruling Party Of 'Terror Against Free Speech'

    Opposition Accuses Ruling Party Of 'Terror Against Free Speech'

    • 3 Aug 2018 9:35 AM

    An official of the radical nationalist Jobbik party has accused ruling Fidesz of waging a war of “terror against free speech” and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of “representing the Bolshevik tradition of suppressing and eliminating alternative thinking”.

  • Hungaryʼs Hír TV Turns Pro-Government Again

    Hungaryʼs Hír TV Turns Pro-Government Again

    • 3 Aug 2018 8:21 AM

    The Hungarian media landscape continues to head in a pro-government direction. In the latest move, Hír TV has announced significant changes indicating the termination of its government-critical tone.

  • Local Opinion: Simicska Sells His Businesses

    Local Opinion: Simicska Sells His Businesses

    • 9 Jul 2018 10:31 AM

    A left-wing pundit describes the former Fidesz party treasurer as an emblematic figure of Hungary’s recent past. He suspects that his media empire may end up in pro-government hands.