Hungarian news portal Telex.hu has hit the ground running, garnering international commendation for its advocacy of a free press while at the same time sharply growing its readership. Veronika Munk and her editorial team received this year’s #ALLForJan Award 2021 for their journalistic work, courage, and uncompromising coverage.
Named after Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, the international award honors journalists from Central and Eastern Europe devoted to fearless reporting on critical social issues. Now in its second year, the award was announced as a part of the MEDIA for FREEDOM conference program. This year’s jury, led by Aktuality.sk Editor-in-Chief Peter Bárdy, also included Vice President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, and Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Laureate, co-founder of the trade union Solidarity, and former Polish head of state.
Economia and its owner Zdeněk Bakala, supported Telex financially. Affirming his backing for Telex and its leadership team, Zdenek said: “Independent journalism is under unprecedented threat as the governments in Hungary, Poland and Slovenia distort the media market to their advantage, damaging both media freedom and democracy in Europe. I have experienced the Communist authoritarianism and therefore protection of media pluralism and independence matters so much to me.”
“The state of the media in Hungary is a memento for Czechia. The willingness to stand together in the region is a safeguard that helps maintain media freedom and democracy in the Czech Republic. If young democracies are to develop, they must stand by one another,” said Zuzana Řezníčková, the director of the publishing house, at the announcement of the plan in September 2020. Economia contributed an amount of 200,000 euros (5.5 million crowns), to the new project’s successful launch.
The Telex news website was founded after most of Index.hu server’s editors resigned in protest at the sacking of the editor-in-chief and other staff. Telex’s new editorial team, led by editor-in-chiefs Veronika Munk and Szabolcs Dull, is committed to continuing quality, fact-based, impartial journalism.
Telex has had a high audience since its inception and continues to thrive. According to data gathered by the industrial standard audit service, DKT-Gemius, Telex’s average daily readership in March 2021 was between 500,000 and 700,000 readers. Its Facebook profile had more than 400,000 followers, its Youtube channel had 85,000 followers, and its Instagram account had 52,000 followers. (Editorial Note – the population in Hungary is 9.7 million.)