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article imageNew pro-Orban Hungarian agency enters fray

By AFP     Apr 9, 2019 in World

A new press agency founded by figures close to firebrand nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Tuesday it aimed to give a "conservative, right-wing perspective" on current affairs.

The V4NA agency -- named after the Visegrad Group of Central European countries to which Hungary belongs -- says it is a "newly launched, independent international news agency" employing 50 journalists.

The first stories on its site date back to last month, while its Twitter account has been active since Monday.

The agency says it is "registered and headquartered" in London but it is not clear how many of its staff work there.

According to the UK's Companies House register, at its incorporation in December 2018, V4NA was owned by one Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the name of Hungary's ambassador to the UK.

There have since been several changes in the ownership structure, with the majority of shares now owned by two media companies which belong to Orban associates, New Wave Media Group and Danube Business Holding.

The agency publishes content on several different subjects, from fashion to art.

Some of the headlines in its politics section seem to be for articles covering Hungarian government statements while others suggest the agency will mimic the anti-immigration tone of much of the Hungarian media.

"Immigration is a war of cultures and civilizations" and "Germany’s dual migration problem" are two such examples.

The agency's content is currently available in Hungarian and English, and it says it plans to add other languages at a later stage.

The agency says it wishes to cover the news "from the point of view of the V4", referring to the four countries that make up the Visegrad Group; Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Hungary and Poland have right-wing governments which are frequently critical of EU institutions, despite both being EU members.

Since coming into power in 2010, Orban has transformed the country's public media into a government propaganda organ while allies have steadily bought up swathes of the private media sector.

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