London media agency carries Viktor Orbn’s nativist message

V4NA, which pumps out stories on dangers of migration, has links to Hungarys government

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Welcome to the world according to the V4 News Agency (V4NA), a newly launched London-based media outlet with strong links to Viktor Orbns far-right government in Hungary.

Domestically, Orbn has built his political platform on opposing migration to Europe, a message carried by a stable of government-friendly media outlets. The establishment of V4NA appears to have two goals: to provide international content for these domestic outlets, and also to amplify Orbns nativist message outside Hungary.

We give a conservative, rightwing perspective of the key political, economical and other news that are critical to our life in Europe and around the world, said a statement released by V4NA shortly after it launched, adding that it had a team of 50 journalists who were always on location where the leading stories happen in Europe.

In the days after the launch last month, many of the featured stories had provocative headlines about the dangers of migration, similar to the diet of news on Hungarys state-controlled television networks.

Since then, the amount of non-ideological content has grown, and the site now boasts dozens of stories a day, many of them on sport, culture or other popular topics. Relieving stress with the magic of llamas, read one story this weekend, and there are numerous reports from central European sporting events.

There are still plenty of anti-immigration stories, however, featuring headlines such as: Twenty thousand terrorists may infiltrate Europe annually, or the incendiary: Syrian migrant rapes a teenage girl. The full articles are only available to subscribers, and the website gives no indication about the cost or terms of subscribing.

Independent Hungarian media outlets quickly uncovered that the agency was registered in London late last year by Kristf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungarys ambassador to Britain.

More than half of the shares in the agency now belong to the Central Europe Press and Media Foundation, an umbrella grouping of pro-government Hungarian media set up last year when a number of businessmen close to Orbn turned over their stakes in various media outlets. A minority package belongs to rpd Habony, a reclusive London-based Hungarian businessman known as one of Orbns ideologues.


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Despite this, Orbns spokesman Zoltn Kovcs said the agency had nothing to do with the government, and would succeed or fail according to whether it was competitive in the market. When asked about the involvement of the ambassador, Kovcs said: I can tell you dozens of examples from German or British politics where people are related to politics and the press.

The Hungarian ambassador to the UK, Kristf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, walking past a police officer in Downing Street. Photograph: WENN Rights Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

A spokeswoman for the Hungarian embassy in London declined to comment on the agency, calling it a private initiative and adding the ambassador would not comment either.

Playing a leading role at the agency is Tth Tams Antal, an executive who previously worked in various roles in Hungarian public media outlets. Emails sent to the agency and the executive went unanswered.

Kovcs wholeheartedly endorsed the agencys stated goals, saying it would be an important counterbalance to the distortion of western European media about Hungary and the broader central European region.

He said: Theres a political agenda that is being nurtured on a daily basis. Theres a narrative which clearly is not talking about the truth and what people can see on the ground. I believe those who have started this initiative believe theres going to be a need for this unique voice.

goston Smuel Mrz, director of the pro-government Nzpont Intzet thinktank in Budapest, said he believed the figure of 50 journalists was accurate, and he expected the agency to hire a number of British journalists who would be experienced and able to ask questions at major European events and summits.

Mrz said the agency would function both as a news clearing house for Hungarian domestic media, and would try to reach more people, helping to create common positions across central Europe. Through several languages they can reach other people as well, but politically they are focused on the central Europeans, he added.

The V4 in the agencys title refers to the Visegrd Four, a term used for Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, whose leaders meet at regular summits. Governments in all four countries have at various times promoted populist, conservative politics and used incendiary anti-migration rhetoric, although the political landscape varies from country to country.

Early signs suggest the initiative may not be having the desired unifying effect. The Czech and Slovakian governments have raised concerns with their Hungarian counterparts over the use of the V4 term in the news agency, given that its content appears to reflect purely Hungarian talking points, a source told the Guardian.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific


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This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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