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EU government expresses worry more than Hungary’s media independence

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) – A senior European Commission formal has expressed issue for the independence of Index.hu, one of Hungary’s previous important unbiased news web sites and a foremost critic of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s governing administration.

“What you are carrying out, the values you are battling for, media independence and pluralism, are critical for democracy,” Vera Jourova, the commission’s Vice President for Values and Transparency, claimed in a concept to Index released on its net web site. “You can rely on my support.”

Editor-in-chief Szabolcs Boring said very last thirty day period that Index was at chance of shedding its independence because of “exterior impact”.

He claimed Index wished to remain absolutely free of authorities influence and undue strain from businessmen and advisers with governing administration ties.

Orban has prolonged his influence around lots of walks of daily life in Hungary in the course of his 10 years-extensive rule.

Professional-federal government businessman Miklos Vaszily bought a big stake in a company with management of Index’s income stream in March, elevating fears of interference with the world wide web web site to favour Orban.

Vaszily, who has not returned Reuters requests for comment, has denied he would like to muzzle Index, stating financial issues will need to be set. But personnel are on notify as Vaszily had earlier turned their competitor, Origo.hu, into a government mouthpiece.

Jourova reported Index’s small business scenario should really not be utilized as a pretext to undermine its freedom.

“Even though readership and audiences have been record significant, revenues have been closely strike. Economic pressure ought to not turn into political strain…I would like to convey my solidarity with the personnel of Index.”

Media flexibility was a crucial issue when the EU warned Hungary in April to respect the bloc’s values as it fought versus the coronavirus pandemic.

(Reporting by Marton Dunai Modifying by Angus MacSwan)

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