Reuters and other leading news agencies report that journalists from Hungary's most popular daily Nepszabadsag published their work on Thursday in Budapest's street newspaper sold by homeless people, seeking to keep the left-wing paper alive after it was shut by its owner this month. Politicians (pictured former PM Gordon Bajnai), public figures and celebrities took selfies in solidarity with the paper and in protest to the Goverments measures to put down press freedom.
Owner Mediaworks suspended the 60-year-old newspaper and its employees overnight on Oct. 8, saying the publication piled up significant losses despite cost cuts.
Nepszabadsag deputy editor in chief says the business arguments do not hold up and the newspaper was closed down because of articles critical of the government. Around 2,000 people protested on Oct. 8 against its closure.
Since it was shut, the journalists have been publishing via a Facebook page, and as a one-off move, they added 12 pages to the street newspaper Fedel Nelkul ("Without Home") on Thursday. Some 12,000 copies are distributed in Budapest, with revenue from donations going to help homeless people.
"When the owner suspended the operation of the newspaper, without any previous warnings or indication, the intellectuals around the newspaper felt it should be made obvious as soon as possible that ... they will be able to publish their thoughts even after the newspaper was strangled," the journalists said.
Mediaworks has said the newspaper had incurred losses of more than $18 million since 2007 due to a fall in circulation.
The articles by "the homeless of an editorial room" further accuse the right-wing government of being behind the closure.
"Measuring up the circumstances ... Fidesz decided to kill Nepszabadsag," one of the journalists wrote.
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs has said press freedom is doing well in Hungary and the government "did not deal with" developments in the media market.
As FreeHungary reported as well, U.S. Department of State noted the steady decline of media freedom in Hungary.
The following statement was issued today by the U.S. Department of State on its website:
"The United States shares the concerns of global press freedom advocates, international organizations, and Hungarian citizens, over the steady decline of media freedom in Hungary.
We are following closely the reported ban of an independent website from the parliament building on October 19 and the sudden closure of Hungary's largest independent newspaper, Nepszabadsag, on October 8. The loss of this paper – regardless of the reason – is a blow to media pluralism in Hungary.
As a friend and ally, we encourage the Hungarian government to ensure an open media environment that exposes citizens to a diversity of viewpoints and opinions, a key component of our shared democratic values. We urge Hungary to work closely with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other experts towards this end."
Coming back to Nepszabadsag, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party has said it regards the closure as a "reasonable business decision". A party vice chairman has said it was "high time" the paper shut...
Source: Reuters; Facebook
Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2016 06:46