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Hungary: Cable News Channel Sold to Prime Minister's Ally

  • Associated Press

FILE - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech during the commemoration ceremony of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Lorinc Meszaros has attributed his success partly to his friendship with Orban.

FILE - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers a speech during the commemoration ceremony of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Lorinc Meszaros has attributed his success partly to his friendship with Orban.

The founder of a Hungarian cable news and talk channel says he has sold the broadcaster to an ally of the prime minister.

Industrialist Gabor Szeles said he sold Echo TV to a company owned by Lorinc Meszaros, a village mayor whose business empire has expanded greatly with the help of state contracts.

In an interview published Friday in Magyar Hirlap, his own newspaper, Szeles described Echo TV as “the channel closest to the government.”

A company linked to Meszaros recently bought a major newspaper publisher, increasing concerns about media diversity and government influence over Hungarian media.

Meszaros has attributed his success partly to his friendship with Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has stressed the aim of increasing Hungarian ownership of local media outlets owned by foreign companies.

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