MILAN | ITALY – Two months after staff at Hungary’s top news-site Index.hu quit over alleged political interference, they are set for a comeback with an unprecedented crowd funding effort.
More than 50 former Index reporters will launch a new site, Telex, from scratch ‘in the coming weeks’ thanks to more than 30,000 reader donations, editor-in-chief Veoronika Munk told AFP.
The venture is a daring new direction for Hungarian independent news site from the ground up with a staff this big before, relying only on reader support’, says Munk, 40, who joined Index as an intern 18 years ago before quitting along 80 colleagues in July.
Beyond the initial months, with independent media mostly deprived of state advertising and few private advertisers around, Telex plans a mixed part – subscription model to cover estimated monthly cost of tens of thousands of euros.
At Telex’s temporary Budapest headquarters, an apartment near the river Danube, the former Index journalists process donations and busily prepare for the launch.
Munk told AFP the ambitious plan is ‘crucial for Hungarian press freedom and media pluralism’ as the number of critical news sources dwindles.
Government allies now control most private media outlets, while public broadcasters and the state news agency serve as Orban’s propaganda organs.