Magyar Hírlap (meaning Hungarian News in English) is a Hungarian daily newspaper owned by entrepreneur Gábor Széles. It is known as a supporter of political parties of Hungary with conservative and traditional values, whereas it was formerly known for a liberal stance.
History and profile
Magyar Hírlap was started in 1968 as a newspaper of the Hungarian government. It was privatized after the political changes in 1989, and quickly became known for backing liberal causes. In 2000 it was bought by Ringier AG. Due to falling circulation and an investigation by the Economic Competition Authority which found Ringier to have an excessive share of the Hungarian newspaper market, the title was axed in 2004. It was quickly relaunched by its editorial staff, and purchased by Széles in 2005.
Attempts to change the paper's political direction were resisted until September 2006 an audio recording surfaced in which the then Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány admitted to having concealed the true state of the nation's public finances during that year's election campaign. This fatally weakened the Hungarian Socialist Party – Alliance of Free Democrats coalition government, of which the paper had been a supporter. Széles then made his move, replacing the entire editorial staff with right wingers.
The circulation of Magyar Hírlap was 107,000 copies in January 1989 and 78,000 copies in January 1991. The paper had a circulation of 75,000 copies in July 1992 and 65,000 copies in March 1993. Its circulation was 41,000 copies in 1998. The paper had a circulation of 27,769 copies in 2009, making it the sixth most read daily in the country.
In 2013 the paper published an opinion piece by Zolt Bayer, who referred to the killings of Marian Cozma and Gergely Sávoly, where Roma were suspected of involvement, and wrote that many gypsies are "animals... unfit to live among people" and "potential murderers [who] should not exist." The article generated negative reactions in Hungary and throughout Europe. A Fidesz spokeswoman said that Bayer's views were his own, while Fidesz communications chief Máté Kocsis said critics of Bayer's article were "siding with" Roma murderers. The Hungarian Media Authority fined the journal 250,000 Forints and ordered the content removed from the internet.
A publicist of Magyar Hírlap, Zsolt Bayer, was one of the leading figures in the pro-government march held in January 2012 in Budapest, which was attended by more than 400,000 people.
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