The web portal and digital archive of Népszabadság, the Hungarian daily newspaper which was abruptly and controversially shut down in early October, has reappeared at its website nol.hu. The vast online archive, which contains years of articles published by the left-wing paper, suddenly reappeared online yesterday afternoon.
“NOL is reachable again,” reads a Facebook post by the paper’s former editorial staff profile, Népszabi Szerkesztőség. “More than two months after closing our paper on October 8, Mediaworks Hungary Zrt. made the Népszabadság internet site available again on the afternoon of December 13, ending the situation which amounted to a case of black and white treason and meant the disappearance of texts belonging to Hungarian public life. They put NOL back on in the condition it was in during the initial blackout on October 8, and it now works in this form as an archive: you cannot edit or comment on stories. We, the members of the editorial staff, don’t have access to those functions either, but since we wrote the articles, we’re spreading the news. Our leading work is good as a memento too, no?”
The 60-year-old paper was suspended on October 8 by its publisher, Mediaworks Hungary Zrt., citing mounting losses as justification. The unexpected shuttering of Hungary’s highest-circulation daily caused widespread controversy and aroused concern around the world for the state of media freedom and pluralism in Hungary.
Opimus Press Zrt., a publicly traded company recently registered on Budapest Stock Exchange and linked to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s close friend Lőrinc Mészáros, acquired Mediaworks within two weeks of the paper’s suspension. After declaring its intention to examine whether publishing the newspaper again was an option, Opimus announced on its official website on December 12 that there was “neither rational possibility nor economic basis for restarting its publication.”