The entire editorial staff of the liberal political news magazine 168 Óra (168 Hours) was recently dismissed, 24.hu reports. The decision was also confirmed by Pál Milkovics, CEO of Michaeli, Schwartz & Brit Media Zrt, owner of the paper. Milkovics explained the decision with “business considerations”, like cost optimization. The move will affect 15 employees. 168 Óra is a left-liberal, opposition newspaper with a long and complicated history.
According to Milkovic, the reason for the dismissal is that “the newspaper’s operation would not be sustainable at the current cost level, the newspaper has been making losses for a long time.” This does not mean, however, that the paper will be shut down. Instead after the redundancies, the paper will buy content from external authors and freelancers. The CEO said that the redundancies would not affect the 168.hu website, where internal staff would remain.
is a left-wing, liberal opposition magazine with a long and complicated history. The company Brit Media, which is partly owned by Telegráf Kft, the newspaper’s publisher – is linked to Slomó Köves, the chairman of the Hungarian Jewish Community, who has recently become an ally of the Orbán government and receives generous state support. In addition, three key journalists left the newspaper in 2019 following the dismissal of former editor-in-chief, Ákos Tóth (the former deputy editor-in-chief of the former leftist daily Népszabadság
). This period also saw the appointment of Péter Rózsa, who later became editor, and who was dismissed from the publication in 2020 after they published an article with a controversial photo of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his family. However, it was later reported that this was not the only reason for the dismissal.
168 Óra is published weekly on Thursdays and features articles on politics and current affairs, as well as interviews with important public figures. The magazine has a liberal and left-liberal orientation.
Media1 reports that in the future, the magazine’s content will be commissioned from external journalists by news director Dávid Trencséni and the news director’s staff. Pál Milkovics “said that they will buy content from more authors than before, and because they always buy from the best experts in their fields, readers will be able to find more diverse opinions in 168 Óra than before.”
József Makai, the editor-in-chief of the paper, will also leave his post, but he himself decided to do so, as he does not agree with the change in structure initiated by the CEO.
Media1 also reported that the newspaper’s circulation has recently dropped drastically: while a few years ago in the fall of 2018, more than 10,000 copies were sold, in September 2021 it was only 4,100 copies, and since then there has been no public data on circulation figures.
Featured photo illustration via Pixabay