October 12th, 2016
A pro-government pundit accepts the explanation that Népszabadság had to be closed down out of financial considerations. He feels bad at the same time because his left-wing colleagues have lost their jobs. Nevertheless he does not regret the disappearance of the former Communist Party daily.
In the first reaction by a pro-government newspaper to the shutdown of the number one left-wing daily on Saturday, Magyar Hírlap’s Zsolt Bayer writes that Népszabadság’s losses were financed from the gains produced by the regional newspapers belonging to the portfolio of its owner, Vienna-based Mediaworks. The company has promised technical support and higher salaries to its regional staff, but could not live up to its promise because the profits they produced were used to offset Népszabadság’s deficit. And the regional editors earned less than half of what Népszabadság was paying a rookie reporter. Otherwise, he recalls how, before the régime change, people reading Népszabadság on the bus were viewed by the others as supporters of the Communist régime. ‘Who would not regret that a lot of people are losing their salaries?’ Bayer asks. However, he continues, ‘who would regret the disappearance of this particular newspaper?’ Well, he says, radical right-wing Jobbik surprisingly does. He attributes that to Jobbik’s alleged ties with Lajos Simicska, the former Fidesz treasurer who owns a media portfolio and became an adversary of PM Orbán early last year. (See BudaPost, February 2015 through July 2016) In an aside, Bayer also writes that to his knowledge, the remaining left-wing daily, Népszava is subsidised by Mr Simicska.
Tags: Népszabadság, press, Simicska