The weekly, *168 o1ra,* began on July 5 a series of interviews with
representatives of "alternative" TV news. As the preamble states "some fresh,
objective, truly public service TV news" sprung up on cabel and on Napte1ve1
(Sun-TV, a private TV station broadcasting on the same frequency as the MTV,
the official state-owned TV station, but in the early morning hours). Va1radi
Ju1lia is interviewing Ferenc Sze1kely, then president of Napte1ve1, now one
of the newly appointed vice-presidents of MTV.
Q: Napte1ve1--in some mysterious way--managed to preserve its relative
independence, when all of MTV's political programs came under the influence
of the government party. Moreover, you began broadcasting a more
comprehensive news program at the time when the program "Egyenleg" (Balance)
seized to exist. Did you make the decision to introduce a news program
because of the situation which presented itself or you always wanted to
concentrate on news?
A: [Yes, from the very beginning they wanted to produce news.]
. . . .
Q: The public surely is curious about the price you had to pay, economic and
political compromises you had to make, to preserve this TV company, more or
less inside of the MTV, or at least on the same frequency, while the
government, especially the right-wing parties, did everything they could to
silence the truth . . . What is the secret of Napte1ve1?
A: I will have to disappoint you. We have no secrets and we had no great
conflicts with the vice-president of the MTV.
Q: What can be the explanation for that?
A: I can only guess. Perhaps because our morning news is too early. Not too
many people watch our program. Perhaps they were more afraid of the
prime-time programs. Perhaps they were preoccupied with the other programs,
Parabola, Panorama, Torvenytelen Szocializmus, and other such programs, and
therefore they had no time for us.
Q: Their zeal was such that closing one more program did not pose a problem
A: Indeed, they could have stopped it but they didn't, and I really have no
Q: And you were never a participant of discussions behind the scenes, in
which requests or threat were voiced?
A: Not at all.
. . . .
Q: Perhaps half of the explanation for this conflict-free relationship is
that the Napte1ve1 showed caution in certain cases.
A: We tried to avoid conflicts. Of course, we listened to some of their
formal complaints and in some cases we even followed their advice. But only
because these complaints were not of primary importance. . . . While they
watched the evening news with great interest, often they didn't even look at
ours. Perhaps they were unable to get up that early.
Q: In those cases which they did notice, did they intervene?
A: I don't remember such a case. Once Nahlik complained about interviewing
Jo1zsef Torgyan. At another time he didn't like something Gyo2rgy Soros said
on the screen, but that was all. Although we broadcast an awful lot of news
which must have irritated them.
Q: How much self-control, even self-defense, was present in the minds of the
A: We did show self-control. For example, we never criticized other TV
programs. We didn't talk about the Parabola or the He1t (Week). In my opinion
that was a legitimate kind of a self-control.
Ju1lia Va1radi must have been somewhat disappointed in these answers. Va1radi
conducted several other interviews with people connected with the media. The
more interesting ones I will translate for the list. Eva Balogh