Today is a dark day in Hungary's history. The already battered freedom of the press has suffered yet another blow, this time with the suspension of the biggest and one of the oldest Hungarian daily newspapers, Népszabadság.
The newspaper was a prestigious news outlet with excellent pundits. Free Market Foundation didn't agree with the position of the paper all the time, nevertheless we were on friendly terms, and they often reported on our activities favourably.
The publisher of Népszabadság has been recently bought by someone close to the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who allegedly directed the purchase and the suspension of operations, as the newspaper had been uncovering sensitive details regarding corruption in the governing party Fidesz.
Orbán's government has been harassing freedom of the press, civic liberties and democratic values ever since they gained power in 2010.
Zoltán Kész, former director of Free Market Foundation and now an independent Member of the Parliament said:
“Hungary must unite and put an end to this rampage. Enough is enough. The government is disregarding European values and common sense. It is only power that matters to them, as with power they can steal as much money as they want. Corruption is running high in Hungary and the governing politicians are getting rich on the taxpayer and the EU, while the former gets nothing in return and the letter is being attacked by Viktor Orbán.”
I wholeheartedly agree with this.
This recent outrage makes Viktor Orbán's role model Vladimir Putin proud, while those who hold Western values dear are much angered.
The coworkers of the newspaper were not notified beforehand, they only read that their jobs are suspended in the media. Some later received a letter but it gave no explanation.
Henceforth Fidesz is not bothered by appearances, they openly and shamelessly do whatever they want. They nationalize, centralize, pointlessly regulate, just to be able to steal more money, which they also do openly.
It is up to the so far disregarded citizens and NGOs to put an end to this nightmare. At the moment the editors of Népszabadság and the owners are negotiating, so we must and will show support for the newspaper, otherwise news in Hungary will be very one-sided.
Free Market Foundation is redoubling its efforts to win back our freedom and liberties.
Thank you very much for your support and encouragement and I encourage you on behalf of the Free Market Foundation to continue to be part of the movement for liberty in Hungary!
Free Market Foundation, Hungary