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Government vs RTL Klub

June 28th, 2014

A centrist blog claims that the government is openly using theNational Tax Authority in its war against RTL Klub. A pro-government weekly says the commercial television channel finally showed its true colours when it started targeting the government as a reaction to the new tax on advertisements – and now it is the government’s turn to reveal why this tax is necessary.

In a new chapter in the confrontation between RTL Klub, the largest and most profitable commercial TV company and the government (see BudaPost, June 23), the National Tax Authority has launched an investigation into the finances of RTL Klub, namely into the deficit it reported in 2011 which would enable it to substantially reduce the amount of the new tax to be paid this year.

Véleményvezér, a centrist independent opinion blog notes that the announcement of the investigation into RTL Klub’s finances may become a major milestone in Hungarian politics. The author does not believe that RTL Klub can be intimidated, and predicts that the matter will end up in the courtroom, and thus the matter will turn into a test of the independence of the judiciary. Finally, if Hungary turns out to be closer to the West than the East, “as we fondly believe”, Véleményvezér concludes, the war between RTL Klub and the government will have a liberating effect on Hungarian entrepreneurs. “They may even end up standing up for their own interests”.

Gábor Borókai, editor-in-chief of Heti Válasz, writes in this week’s print edition that RTL Klub has finally revealed its true colours. In a drive to hit back at the government, they have suddenly discovered yesterday’s news. Financial interests, he says, can overwrite the much touted independence of the commercial media and now it should be obvious how empty the claim of ’foreign owners temporarily stationed in Hungary’ to independence and objectivity actually is. In conclusion, Borókai turns to the government and asks them in turn to reveal their own true intentions, noting that official justifications for the new tax are less than convincing.


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