TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Hungarian businessman Zoltan Speder announced on Monday that he had sold all his holdings in media group cemp-X Online Zrt which owns several publications and has indirect control over Hungary’s main independent news website Index.hu.
Speder, who fell out with Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 2016, said in a statement that the buyers were Gabor Ziegler, a member of the board of cemp-x Online, and media entrepreneur Jozsef Oltyan, with each now holding 50 percent of cemp-x Online.
Index is the largest outlet to conduct investigations and break news critical of Orban after a shake-up in Hungary’s media in recent years left most major news outlets under the control of the government, or businessmen friendly with it.
Orban has clashed with Brussels over his policies towards the media, courts and civil organizations in the past years. The European Parliament voted last week to sanction Hungary for breaking EU rules on democracy and civil rights.
The new owners of cemp-x said “the transaction does not affect the operation of Index.hu publishing house and its editorial” and Index would continue to be owned by the “For Hungarian Development Foundation” run by Laszlo Bodolai.
“The editorial independence of Index is guaranteed thanks to the ownership structure via the foundation,” they said.
Rightwing nationalist Orban, who was re-elected in April for a third consecutive term in national elections, has repeatedly described Index as “fake news” and had declined to reply to questions from Index reporters.