Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Proposal for heavy advertising tax in Hungary seen threatening press freedoms

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.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media

Canadian Mortgage Rates