Hungarian studies: Did Orban hijack Euronews? | EUROtoday

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As of: April 25, 2024 3:00 p.m

First Viktor Orban restructured the Hungarian media – now he’s stated to be concentrating on a global broadcaster: Euronews. According to analysis, a Hungarian authorities fund was additionally concerned within the buy of the medium.

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been extensively criticized for restructuring the Hungarian media panorama in his favor. It is estimated that round 80 % of the entire turnover of the Hungarian press market goes to media retailers loyal to Orban. Critical media retailers have typically been minimize off from authorities subsidies and the promoting market, pushed to monetary spoil after which taken over by businessmen near Orban.

Now there often is the Hungarian authorities's first assault on a global media outlet. Euronews was purchased by a Portuguese businessman – however a Hungarian authorities fund can be stated to be concerned.

This is proven by investigative analysis from Hungary, extra exactly from the unbiased Hungarian investigative analysis platform Direkt36. An nameless informant had contacted them with paperwork that have been supposed to point out {that a} Hungarian authorities sovereign wealth fund had purchased the French broadcaster Euronews, not less than a part of it.

A 3rd of the acquisition value will come from Hungary

Andras Pethö, co-founder of Direkt36, says they acquired “confidential documents about the purchase.” “They show that Euronews was sold for 150 million euros. 45 million, or almost a third, came from a Hungarian state fund called the Szechenyi Fund.” The Szechenyi Fund initially belonged to the Hungarian Ministry of Finance and was then transferred to a state college. But it’s nonetheless state cash.

Pethö has found different connections between the Euronews purchaser and the Hungarian authorities. “We found out that a Hungarian businessman with close contacts to the Orban government arranged this deal,” he says. The purchaser's father is a Portuguese politician who’s pals with Orban. “The two have known each other for decades.”

Euronews staff in Hungary nervous

Euronews is predicated in Lyon, France, and supplies programming for a number of European international locations, together with Hungary. The head of the Hungarian workplace, Attila Kert, says that he and his staff have been nervous about this modification in possession of their employer from the start and considered what occurred to many Hungarian media.

From their headquarters they at all times say that it's all about enterprise and that the takeover has no political element, says Kert. “But I told them that we are worried in Hungary. Because in France you don't get bitten by wolves, so you don't recognize them there. Here in Hungary you are afraid of even a small dog because he could be a wolf.”

So far, nonetheless, they’ve been in a position to proceed working undisturbed and report critically about Hungary with out censorship. There was “no intervention from above” in journalistic work, “not even an attempt, not even a suggestion for fine-tuning.” As proof, Attila Kert sends a present Euronews on-line article about Peter Magyar, the brand new hope of the Hungarian opposition. He is portrayed intimately and objectively within the textual content.

Orban “goes to the next level”

The media scientist at Corvinus University Budapest, Agnes Urban, is just not stunned that the Euronews staff in Hungary really feel nothing. She assumes that Orban has greater plans for Euronews. He already dominates the home media market – and has observed that persons are fed up with apparent, low-cost propaganda.

“So he goes to the next level and secures influence on international media,” believes Urban. “The Hungarian state has already bought into media outlets in Slovenia and Serbia. And buying into Euronews fits Orban's European ambitions.”

Government denies involvement in Euronews

He hopes to achieve one thing from the upcoming European elections and needs to play a number one function in Europe. Then Euronews could be fascinating for him. “To intervene now would be too obvious, it would endanger the brand, it would be too risky and wouldn’t make sense for him,” says Urban.

Attila Kert from Euronews Hungary talks about different speculations that exist round him. Perhaps the Hungarian sovereign wealth fund has already pulled out and maybe the analysis was launched by rival media to break Euronews. None of this has been confirmed. A spokesman for the Orban authorities asserted that the Hungarian state had nothing to do with Euronews.

Oliver Soos, ARD Vienna, at the moment Budapest, tagesschau, April 25, 2024 1:50 p.m