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Index.hu fears for its independence

June 27th, 2020
A left-wing sociologist thinks that the owners of Index.hu want to restructure Hungary’s most popular online news site in an attempt to silence yet another media outlet critical of the government. A pro-government commentator dismisses the accusation, and claims that restructuring is necessary because of diminishing revenues.

On Sunday, Index, Hungary’s leading online media outlet, announced that its editorial independence is in danger. The liberal site expressed the fear that its owners – and through them the Fidesz government – want to influence the online media outlet’s editorial policy and content. The website is owned by a foundation, while the company that provides ads to it is partly owned by a purportedly pro-government media manager. It was his suggestion to outsource some non-politically essential content to external providers who would employ the same staff who produce that content at present. 

In an interview with Hirklikk, Mária Vásárhelyi contends that the government wants to silence Index, Hungary’s most important critical media outlet. The left-wing sociologist recalls that Index was purchased by pro-government entrepreneurs, who, Vásárhelyi believes, want to silence it.

Magyar Hírlap’s Károly Bán finds the suggestion that Index’s owners have a political agenda absurd. The pro-government commentator thinks that decreasing advertisement revenue necessitates the restructuring of what he describes as a left-liberal-left media outlet. In a passing remark, Bán accuses Index of publishing fake news to serve the political interests of the opposition parties.

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