I could talk about the government’s takeover of the media market in abstract terms. I could tell you about the miraculous success of Orbán’s new front, Lőrinc Mészáros, who didn’t even notice at first when he bought all the local newspapers last summer.
He was understandably overwhelmed. There hasn’t been a day since his promotion to tender-winner-in-chief when he didn’t buy at least a majority stake in an economic sector in Hungary.
I could tell you that he now owns 196 newspapers – which is quite a career in publishing for the Universe’s most talented gas repairman. I could tell that the majority of the country now never hears or reads anything that didn’t come from the government (or Sputnik – they translate Sputnik like they were paid for it) – thanks to Orbán’s effort to consolidate the media in Mészáros’ hands.
I can show you how the local news portals’ front pages look identical today – disseminating Orbán’s latest opinions on whom to be afraid of.
But this is all theoretical.
Let me tell you about László Póré, the former editor in chief of Dunántúli Napló and 8 other local papers. When Póré has been fired due to Mészáros’ takeover of Mediaworks, their parent company, he had a dilemma. He could perhaps still get a job at the leftover independent media in Budapest (that cannot be said of the hundreds of rank-and-file journalists who also lost their livelihood) – but then he would have to uproot his family. In his hometown, Pécs, he will never write again – not for money.
I don’t understand all those whiny weaklings who complain that politics has infiltrated every aspect of life and every workplace – and you need to align with Fidesz to keep your job. You can obviously find work if you want.
Just hope that you don’t get a tax audit.
Journalists who were fired after the hostile takeover of Mediaworks and TV2, a commercial channel – and those who left in flocks after it – have a problem: they can’t make a living in their profession. Not if they refuse to make reports like this – and worse.
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