Szabolcs Dull, 36, studied French and communication at the Budapest Eötvös Lorand science University. He worked as a Journalist at the public broadcaster Kossuth Rádió, as well as news portals Origo and Index. Since 2019, he was editor-in-chief of Index. Currently Dull in Budapest to study law.

DW: Mr. Dull, you have been made redundant in the last week as the editor-in-chief of the Index, the largest and most widely read Hungarian media. This was a Surprise for you?

Szabolcs Dull: The Form of the notice of termination was a Surprise, because the Manager of the Index Foundation, so my boss, László Bodolai, invited me to a place outside the editorial office, in order, as he said, to discuss a business thing. On the spot he handed me a flash in my notice. No Surprise was the process, how it came to be, because in the last weeks there were quite a lot of Friction, because I have publicly defended the independence of the editorial team, the state under attack.

For some years now, government-related business people, co-owner at Index. It was, therefore, foreseeable that something like this would happen?

in fact, the oligarchs in the last few years, Pro-government businessmen have been bought at Indamedia, the promotional company Index. Therefore, the editorial was restless. We have therefore drawn up two years ago, two very clear conditions: the content of editorial independence should be respected. And there should be no except for editorial interference in their composition. In the past weeks, there have been Attempts, the latter condition to disregard, that was the so-called swap plan, according to which the largest part of the editorial should be distributed to external companies. This would have been our end.

“That was the red line,”

you, as the outsourcing plan was announced, the so-called independence Barometer Index changed from independent to vulnerable. It was entitled, and wise?

It was the mood of the editorial Board, decided on the state of the barometer. We have felt that we are in danger. Therefore, we have set the Barometer from Green to Yellow, we wanted to send a strong public Signal. Previously, I have told the managing Director of the Foundation on several occasions that we are with the outsourcing plan does not agree.

it Was a step that almost the entire editorial team quit after they were dismissed, and the managing Director of the claim of the editorial, you einzustrellen again, failed to do so?

As I informed the editors of my termination, I asked you to defend the Index as a Symbol of the Hungarian freedom of the press, and to continue to work. However, the editors of this saw appears to be no possibility of more. Me, the Agreement of the editors in this matter, surprised and, of course, touched.

the editor wrote afterwards that it had a choice between a silent Bleed and a dignified death. How would you comment on that?

This is well-formulated. I think the editors felt that, in future, more and more small compromises closed, and compromises must be made. You would also have to swallow that one has to dismiss the editor-in-chief, has collected for the independence of his voice. The most not wanted apparently. That was their red line.

The editors wrote in an opinion, the Index in its present Form did not exist. There is still a Chance to save the Portal?

A page named Index will continue to be available. But what we have so far represented our values, our independence, our freedom, and that is sure to end.

The Hungarian government denies that it has anything to do with the operations to Index. This is credible?

I don’t see it as my role to analyze the. Fixed: After I was discharged, started the Pro-government media is an extremely brutal vilification campaign against me. None of that is true.

“The ceiling height has been reduced”

you are accused of, to have an Index with the help of left-wing politician crush.

I commented on this on another occasion with the words: I’m Not the executioner, but I’m the victim that was beheaded. After all, I’ve been dismissed and have lost not only my Job, but a significant part of my life. There is in this campaign is a ridiculous and frightening. The ridiculous part is that I should have agreed with opposition politicians to destroy the Index. The frightening part of the campaign is that the government Portal Origo has published a call list on my phone and in his campaign calls. It is simply this: I have worked for many years as a political Journalist, I know virtually all of the politicians of Hungary, most of them have my phone number and call me again and again. I absolutely don’t hide anything, and everyone has the right to be able to see my call list. But that appears to be illegally in a government-related Portal and a campaign used, is frightening.

which meant the Index for Hungary?

In the past few weeks, we asked our readers to write to us, what is the meaning of Index for them, and very many wrote that the Index is the page that you would be in the morning as the first call to get information. Many also wrote that they would turn to if something Important would happen in the world, as the first Index to learn backgrounds.

Hungarian commentators have referred to Index time as an icon, sometimes as an Institution and as a way of life.

Yes, that may be so. We in the editorial team have often felt that our special role. When readers have asked us generally what and why it is happening. An example is the corona crisis. The press conferences of the Hungarian Corona-crisis unit have considered on our page, ten times as many people as on the website of the government, the same images, the same Live-Stream, just transferred from the us, I think that speaks for itself.

Set the independence Barometer now to Red for “not independent”?

The Barometer has lost its meaning, almost the whole editorial staff has quit. If we set it to Red or not is no matter.

What are your further plans? There will be with the former Index staff a new project?

a six-month ban to work in media. I’m now studying law next. But I very much hope that my colleagues will get the values that we have represented in the Index, in a journalistic project to continue.

there Is still freedom of the press in Hungary?

This is a question that can only be answered in a very difficult Yes or no. I have to say that you have to imagine the freedom of the press, such as a room, whose ceiling height varies. If you reduce, can’t stand some of the people in an upright position. Now the ceiling height has been reduced.

author: Keno taking place

*The post “Ex-Index-editor-in-chief: “The campaign against me is ridiculous and terrifying”” published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

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