Today the European
Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and the Vienna- based South East European
Media Organisation (SEEMO) expressed their deep concern over the wave of
dismissals that started in Hungarian public broadcasting.
"This looks like a real
purge taking place literally days after the end of the EU Presidency of Hungary
and as the new media law is now fully effective,"
said EFJ President Arne König. "We are alarmed by the number of jobs concerned and also by the suspicion
that some of these lay-offs may be politically motivated".
Last week over 570 of the
total 3,400 staff members at the four state-run media companies - Magyar Rádió,
MTV, Duna TV and MTI - were sacked. In some cases entire teams were
laid-off without any agreement or even serious talks
with the unions was carried out. The lay-offs were made public between the 6th and the 8th
July, and will be continued this week in the regional studios in five major cities. Hundreds
more dismissals are foreseen in the autumn.
Amongst the dismissed people
are widely acknowledged, well known and very popular, iconic personalities (reporters,
commentators, editors) of the Hungarian public service media, especially those
involved in news editing, political and/or cultural issues such as those covering the Houses of Parliament. In general, most affected journalists are those
over 50, which may lead to a loss of expertise and experience.
According to the President
of the board of trustees of Hungarian public broadcaster, there are many
well-paid employees at state run media who have not produced any programmes for
one or two years. Journalists' organisations reject this argument and demand a transparent process of redundancies if the
financial context of the public media in Hungary does not allow secure and
sufficient financing of human resources and programming.
"Things should go the
other way round: instead of cutting resources and complain about declining
programmes, it is the responsibility of the authorities to guarantee the
financing of public media precisely to support quality journalism as a public
good," said König. "The EFJ calls on journalists and civil society
groups across Europe to support Hungarian journalists in their struggle."
including the EFJ members MUOSZ and the Press Union, are
holding a solidarity strike tomorrow 13
represents more than 250.000 members in over 30 countries
East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a network of editors, media
executives and leading journalists from South, East and Central Europe.
information, please contact EFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00 or SEEMO on +43 1 513 39 40