The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Proposal for heavy advertising tax in Hungary seen threatening press freedoms

  • Print

BUDAPEST, Hungary - A new proposal in Hungary to impose a heavy tax on media advertising revenues threatens the free press, journalists and analysts said Tuesday.

A draft bill presented by Laszlo L. Simon, a lawmaker from the governing Fidesz party, would tax Hungarian media companies' annual advertising revenues in several steps, rising to a maximum rate of 40 per cent on revenues above 20 billion forints ($89 million). The tax would come on top of the usual ones on earnings and payroll.

Peter Csermely, deputy editor of the generally pro-Fidesz newspaper Magyar Nemzet, said the proposal was a government attempt "to step on the throat of press freedom."

"The ad tax shrinks media resources, makes its job more difficult, limits its efficiency and impedes it from fulfilling its tasks," Csermely wrote in a signed editorial published Tuesday.

Since 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been trying to centralize political control and increase the role of the state in all walks of life, from education to business and the media.

Agnes Urban, an analyst at Mertek Media Monitor, said the tax could also increase government influence on Hungary's commercial TV market.

The highest tax bracket would affect only RTL Hungary, the country's largest broadcaster. RTL has been the ratings leader over TV2, which was recently sold by its German owners to two station executives widely reported to have links to business interests close to Fidesz.

"Besides general intimidation, the government's distinct aim is distort the commercial" TV market, Urban said. "It is important for the government to improve TV2's position and weaken its largest competitor."

RTL estimated its share of the ad tax would be about 4.5 billion forints ($20.1 million), roughly half of the expected state revenues from the levy and, according to Urban, nine times its 2013 profits.

Simon, the lawmaker, said his aim is to eventually also tax ad revenues by Internet companies like Facebook, You Tube and Google.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A squirrel enjoys the morning sunshine next to the duck pond in Assiniboine Park Wednesday– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google