All the writing of the liberal political information magazine 168 Ora (168 hours) was recently made redundant, 24.hu reports. The decision was also confirmed by Pál Milkovics, CEO of Michaeli, Schwartz & Brit Media Zrt, owner of the newspaper. Milkovics explained the decision by “business considerations”, such as cost optimization. The move will affect 15 employees. 168 Ora is a left-liberal opposition newspaper with a long and complicated history.
According to Milkovic, the reason for the dismissal is that “the operation of the newspaper would not be viable at the current cost level, the newspaper has been making losses for a long time”. This does not mean that the newspaper will be closed. Instead, after the layoffs, the newspaper will buy content from outside writers and freelancers. The CEO said the layoffs would not affect the 168.hu website, where internal staff would stay.
168 Ora is a left-liberal opposition magazine with a long and complicated history. Brit Media, which is partly owned by Telegráf Kft, the newspaper’s publisher, is linked to Slomó Köves, the president of the Hungarian Jewish community, who recently became an ally of the Orbán government and who enjoys generous support from the ‘State. In addition, three key journalists left the newspaper in 2019 following the dismissal of the former editor, Ákos Tóth (the former deputy editor of the former leftist daily Nepszabadsag). This period also saw the appointment of Péter Rózsa, who later became editor, and who was removed from his post in 2020 after publishing 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 Ora is published every Thursday 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 content of the magazine will be commissioned from external journalists by the director of information Dávid Trencséni and the team of the director of information. 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 Ora than before.”
József Makai, the newspaper’s editor, 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.
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