Entire editorial staff of Hungarian news outlet in Transylvania quits due to political pressure – here comes Telex's new project: Transtelex
February 16. 2022. – 03:41 PM
Translation by Andrea Horváth Kávai.
On Tuesday morning, the whole editorial staff of Transindex resigned – according to their joint statement, signed by each staff member:
“This morning, after 23 years of Transindex’s existence, the whole editorial staff quit. Why? We quit because we feel that our work within this institution has been rendered entirely impossible. Due to this, we are unable to continue our work according to our best professional ability – which would be the task of the free press. Although since the early days, both the team and Transindex have gone through changes, one thing has not: today, just like at the beginning, we believe in standing for the same values, and we are not willing to do our journalistic work according to the expectations of any political actors.”
They further write:
“We have all noticed that the space for freedom of speech has been shrinking more and more for Hungarians in Transylvania recently. During the past two years, we have been fighting for our survival within a politically defined environment, in which the press only has two choices: capitulate, and function as a mouthpiece in line with the expectations of various political interests, or attempt to do their job properly, in which case their work will be made impossible. We chose the latter, and now we are packing – we have no other choice left.”
The statement adds that the majority owner of Transindex is about to sell the news portal which was founded in 1999, and is based in Cluj, Romania with the slogan: “the sunny side”. As they highlight, they do not see their journalistic independence ensured in the current context. They write:
“It was not unexpected, but it is still hard for us to comprehend that what used to be Transindex for many decades, will from now on be no more.”
Last November Transindex started a fundraising campaign, because they felt that the newspaper’s existence was in danger. Back then they wrote that keeping the portal running without their readers’ contribution had become impossible.
Since its beginnings, Telex has had a close relationship with Transindex.
Following the resignation of most of the editorial staff of Telex from our former place of employment when I was fired from my position as editor-in-chief, and having been contacted about these events by press outlets from Japan to Brazil, I gave my first bigger interview to Transindex. It was a symbolic and conscious decision, as with its pure existence, Transindex embodied the values considered then and now as most important by our team: freedom of press, freedom of expression, impartiality and curiosity. Also, as a news outlet of Hungarians outside the borders of Hungary, they had been fighting daily for the principle of not being silenced. Since then, we have won international tenders together, and Telex has published a number of articles which were a joint effort of Telex and Transindex journalists, of which we are rightfully proud.
And now, the 23-year old story of Transindex has come to an end – with the en masse resignation of the entire editorial staff.
The situation is painfully familiar to us at Telex: following the increasing pressure from outside, in the end these journalists had no choice left but to stand up for their values together, and to give up the paper that had been their life. Their farewell message includes a heartbreaking prediction:
“This was the only Hungarian media outlet in Romania with a large readership, produced according to the staff’s own decisions, and not according to a political party’s agenda.”
The disappearance of this spirit would be a painful loss not just for them, but for Transylvania as a whole, and indeed, for the whole public of the Carpathian Basin.
Following the joint resignation of the Transindex journalists, we feel the same responsibility we did in 2020. For this reason, we are embarking on Telex’s biggest venture yet: along with the resigned journalists, we would like to launch Transtelex.
We want to do this, because we believe there is a need for free press in Transylvania. We believe that there is a need for a Transylvanian paper in Hungarian which only depends on its readers. We believe there is a need for a news source where those in power do not dictate what is written. We believe in free press for Transylvanians, written by Transylvanians, but not just about Transylvania.
And we are asking our readers for help with the launching of Transtelex, the new Transylvanian paper!
Telex was born because on the one hand, the journalists stood up for their values together, chose not to be silenced and were unwilling to accept the fate others had intended for them, and on the other hand, tens of thousands of people stood with us, and with their donations helped us get a new newspaper off the ground. We are now asking our readers and supporters for the same: let us join forces, so that Transtelex.ro, the paper of the resigned journalists from Transindex could become the definitive, unavoidable news source of the Hungarian public in Transylvania!
Over the course of the next few days, here at Telex, we will show you more about why there is a need for free Hungarian press in Transylvania.