12 Jun 2014 09:10am

Hungary advertising tax a threat to media businesses

A new tax on advertising has faced protest over fears it will severely damage the media industry in Hungary

The tax, presented as a revenue generating scheme for a financially struggling government, could strip media groups of as much as 40% of advert revenues.

The tax exempts the first 500m forints (HUF) (£1.3m) in advertising revenues, but increases progressively to a value of 40% of ad revenues above HUF 20bn (£53m).

The country’s most popular TV channel, RTL Magyarorszag – a subsidiary of Germany’s RTL Group – said it would be disproportionately affected and pushed into loss, should the new tax come into law.

In that respect, analysts have compared the measure to tax on other sectors of Hungary’s economy that has put heavier tolls on international businesses.

Many media companies in Hungary have protested the new legislation, saying it will be damaging to their businesses. Around 1,000 protestors gathered outside Hungary’s parliament, saying that the tax was a move to clamp down on press freedom.

Earlier this year, Hungary was demoted eight places to 64 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

Oliver Griffin


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