Once revered as a pioneer in Hungary’s online media market, the reputation of Origo.hu continues to worsen since its purchase by Fidesz-linked New Wave Media. Media issues site Kreativ.hu reports that almost a dozen staff writers left the online daily this week alone.
In 2014, mass resignations of Origo’s news staff caused uproar after it was alleged that senior management sought to censor journalism critical of ranking government officials, namely now-Minister Overseeing the Office of the Prime Minister János Lázár. The site was then sold in 2015 to New Wave Media, a company owned by a cousin of Hungarian National Bank governor György Matolcsy. Since then, the site’s content has shifted dramatically in a pro-government direction, and has been used (like other Fidesz-aligned media outlets) to run smear pieces on civil society and opposition politicians.
On Friday, the entire tech column staff announced its resignation from the portal. Sources tell Kreativ.hu that the staff writers had taken issue since last year with the pro-government direction of the company, as well as issues concerning professionalism and the manner in which new staff were being hired.
Origo told Kreativ that the staff departures are intended to optimize workflows, but mno.hu reports that meetings have already taken place to find replacement staff.