The head of Hungary’s media authorities has resigned from her two positions, receiving a large severance package, and as a result Fidesz may appoint someone to replace her for another 9 years.
Mónika Karas left her role as chair of the National Media and Communications Council (NMHH) and head of the Media Council, and is expected to receive a gross compensation package worth 61.6 million Ft. (US $191,400), or net 41.0 million Ft. (US $127,400) after taxes.
With the departure of Karas, Fidesz may elect a new chair before the 2022 elections to head the NMHH and the Media Council for another 9 years.
Karas was appointed in August 2013 after the death of her predecessor, Annamária Szalai, and her term would have expired in September 2022. Under Karas’ leadership, writes Telex, the NMHH and Media Council avoided taking a strong stand when it came to unpleasant media issues for the government.
In March, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights published a report stating that Hungary’s media authority was a politically-controlled body that guarantees an overwhelming amount of pro-government media, and that the government itself had limited the conditions for free expression in the media.
Mónika Karas’ next job will be as Vice-President of the State Audit Office, and Telex estimates that she will earn 4.24 million Ft. (US $13,200) a month in this position, nearly the same as at the head of NMHH and the Media Council.
When asked by Telex, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said that he had no objection to Karas, chair of the Media Authority, resigning six months before the elections and being replaced by a new chair with a 9-year term.