Csaba Schlecht, editor-in-chief of Lánchíd Radio and closest ally of former Fidesz oligarch Lajos Simicska, offered an interesting insight into the relationship between the Hungarian government and the media. In an interview given to online magazine mediapiac.com, the editor-in-chief spoke of the day when Simicska referred to the prime minister as a “cumshot” and how his media outlets became anti-government.
The only thing Schlecht refused to talk about was Kaya Ibrahim and Josip Tot. As Index.hu pointed out, back in 1995 thirteen companies close to Fidesz, all of them with substantial debt and/or tax arrears, were sold to Ibrahim, a Turkish national living in Germany. Two years later, another three companies were traded to the Croatian-born Tot, also residing in Germany. As none of them had proper identity documents, the Hungarian tax officials were unable to foreclose either the companies or their owners.
Of course, Lajos
Speaking of media issues, Schlecht admitted he accepted Simicska’s invitation to head Lánchíd Radio because if the boss asks him to do something, he usually answers, “Of course, Lajos”. He admitted that before “G-Day” (the day when Simicska called Orbán a cumshot) the government controlled the radio just like the oligarch’s other media outlets.
“Political parties are stupid. They don’t even trust experts. They consider every media outlet as an extension of the press department,” he added.
Schlecht said that one of the many reasons why Simicska got mad at Orbán was because the prime minister wanted a “classic socialist media world”, with no critical voices just pro-government or neutral newspapers, an idea Simicska rejected. The editor-in-chief added that the prime minister still believes in the same vision and will try everything to make it happen.
(This does not explain why, prior to the falling out, the representatives of Simicska-owned news channel HírTV regularly met with people responsible for government communications to agree on news content.-ed.)
Answering the question why media outlets belonging to Simicska now side with the opposition, Schlecht said that since no one from the government would speak to them, the only guests they could invite to their political magazines were opposition politicians. He added that Simicska is ready to finance Lánchíd Radio, HírTV and Magyar Nemzet until 2018 at least.
Vona would make a better PM
The businessman dispelled rumors about a possible cooperation between Simicska and Jobbik, but he believes Gábor Vona, chairman of the far-right party, would make a better prime minister than Orbán.
“In order to have a different government in 2018, one must win the elections. I strongly believe that although he is less capable than Orbán, it would benefit the country if Gábor Vona was elected prime minister in 2018,” he said.
Schlecht did not deny rumors that Simicska wanted to buy the country’s most influential news website, Index.hu. According to his knowledge, Simicska really announced at a closed executive meeting recently that the Orbán-Habony pair should not be allowed to direct the media company.
“If Lajos said such things, he probably has the means,” the editor-in-chief added.