Hungary: Hir TV news channel taken over by the government

Hír TV, one of the last independent television broadcaster in Hungary, announced significant changes in the editorial and management teams on 1 August 2018, following its purchase by pro-government businessman Zsolt Nyerges in July. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is alarmed by this new attempt to control the media in Hungary. The announcement on the channel’s website stated that Hír TV “returns to its old values, continuing where it was left in 2015“. The TV channel used to follow a pro-governmental line until 2015, when the relationship between Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the former owner Lajos Simicska deteriorated, which then modified the editorial policy.…

Hungary: two media outlets forced to close following Orbán’s electoral win

Radio station Lánchíd Rádió as well as Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet have shut down on 10 and 11 April 2018. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) is appalled by the latest developments following Orbán’s electoral win, which further narrows media pluralism in Hungary. The Hungarian opposition daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet and its online version were forced to close yesterday due to financial reasons. A sudden increase in rent of the publishing buildings, whose owners are reported to be close to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orbán, led it to cease its media production.  The Hungarian radio station Lánchíd Rádió…

Journalists harassed for their reports on Hungary’s anti-Soros campaign

Several journalists working in Hungary for foreign media outlets alerted the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) about the harassment they have been subjected to. The EFJ condemns those attacks and calls on the Hungarian authorities to stop harassing the journalists in question. “Propagandists”, “spokespeople”, “drug addict”: this is the kind of verbal attacks journalists reporting on Hungary’s campaign against George Soros have received, directly from the government or some pro-governmental media outlets. The EFJ recently submitted the following two cases on the Council of Europe platform for the safety of journalists. The Website 888.hu Publishes a List of Eight Journalists Described as…

Journalist in Hungary violently expelled from a forum by a local politician

Júlia Halász, a reporter of the Hungarian liberal 444.hu website, was violently expelled from one of the public party forums in Budapest last Thursday (04/05/2017). National Economy Minister Mihály Varga and National Defence Minister István Simicskó were explaining the dangers of the “Soros network” and the “Stop Brussels” campaign. Halász was reporting on the anti-Soros forums and started producing footage when she was approached by three men who told her to leave, as she could not record the event without registration. “I went back in the room, but no longer recorded the event with the camera. I just took some…

EFJ and IFJ in solidarity with staff of Népszabadság

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and News Media Europe expressed today in Brussels their solidarity with the journalists from the Hungarian independent newspaper “Népszabadság” (Freedom of the People). The decision to suspend publication of Hungary’s biggest left-leaning daily broadsheet came out of the blue two weeks ago without the knowledge of staff. Together with Anthony Bellanger, IFJ GS, Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ GS, participated today to a solidarity demonstration in Brussels, in front of the European Commission offices. “Nepszabadsag is dead, victim of a murder planned in advance,” said the daily Brussels correspondent Katalin Halmai. She explained…

Demonstration of solidarity with Hungary’s newspaper NÉPSZABADSÁG

We will be gathering for a demonstration of solidarity with Hungary’s main opposition newspaper NÉPSZABADSÁG which was unexpectedly and viciously shut down, fueling concerns over a government crackdown on critical media. Since the paper’s suspension, its journalists are not allowed to publish in any other media. The paper’s archives are also inaccessible. Employees of NÉPSZABADSÁG are practically hostages of the publisher Mediaworks, which is suspected to be sold soon to a government-friendly investor. We need to show solidarity with NÉPSZABADSÁG. We also need to raise our voices for press freedom, a fundamental principle of the EU. No Member State have…

Hungary’s biggest opposition newspaper shuts down

Publication of Hungary’s biggest opposition newspaper, Népszabadság (People’s Freedom), has been suspended. The paper’s owner company Mediaworks unexpectedly announced on Saturday it would suspend both the print and online editions. The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ and IFJ) are shocked by this huge blow to media pluralism in Hungary. Around 2,000 Hungarians protested in Budapest on Saturday against the closure of the country’s leading leftist newspaper. Mediaworks, owned by Austrian firm Vienna Capital Partners, said the paper was operating at a “considerable” loss and struggled with dropping circulation. But civil rights groups said the newspaper had been shut down because it…

EFJ supports ECPMF actions for media freedom in Hungary

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is under fire, with protest letters from the European Centre for Press&Media Freedom (ECPMF) being delivered to his embassies and consulates across Europe on 14 April. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has joined today the ECPMF in its action for media freedom in Hungary. “We appreciate the ECPMF action towards the Hungarian Prime Minister who consistently since 2010 has attacked media freedom in Hungary. Growing government pressure has led to growing self-censorship among journalists. A rule of law procedures like in Poland should have been likewise introduced in Hungary, if the EU wants to be…

Hungary: journalists should not heat animosity

On November 11, the Budapest Centre for the International Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities hosted a round-table on the role of journalists in preventing genocide and countering extremism at the Hungarian Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The opening panel featured the keynote speech of András Trom, Head of Section of Foreign and Security Policy of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ), an EFJ affiliate. The Budapest Centre noted that “Trom pointed out the key role that journalists have in society, insofar as they are charged with reporting on events and thus mediating people’s understanding of reality. In this sense, the quality…

Journalists covering refugee crisis face police attack in Hungary

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has denounced the latest attack and arrest of journalists who were reporting the refugee crisis on the border between Hungary and Serbia today. Six journalists were reportedly beaten  on Wednesday by Hungarian border police. According to local media reports, Warren Richardson, an Australian photographer, and Jacek Tacik, a Polish reporter together with a Slovakian journalist were accused of crossing the border between Hungary and Serbia illegally. They were beaten before they were arrested by the border police. The journalists had been working in the Serbian village of Horgoš and followed a group of refugees who entered…

Hungary: shameful attack by camerawoman on refugees

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have today backed their affiliates, the Hungarian Press Union (HPU) and the Association of Hungarian Journalists (AHJ), which slammed a TV camerawoman who was filmed kicking refugees as they fled from police last Tuesday in Hungary. In a video footage widely shared in media reports on the attack which took place on 8 September, Petra Laszlo, who worked for N1TV, is seen kicking several refugees, including children, as they ran from a police lines during disturbances at Roszke, southern Hungary. The footage, which was filmed by another journalist…

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