Hvg is one of the best-known left-wing propaganda surfaces in Hungary, yet the owner of the paper is not really known to the public. Péter Szauer, owner-CEO, has been trying to avoid the public all his life. His career began even before the change of regime. During the communist dictatorship, whether or not he managed to found a paper with several of his friends. Even in the seventies. Throughout his career, he followed a scandal scandal: his paper published, among other things, a fake video, a sham report (always for the sake of the left, of course) and a pet revelation about the owner’s grievances. However, all of this had no real consequences. We present a powerful lord of the left-wing media who can do anything if his interests dictate it.
Péter Saauer entered the world of media in the previous system, when he and his colleagues founded the World Economy of the Week in 1979. In socialism, such things did not go easily, and to put it mildly, good political relations were needed. Minimum.
The legend of false courage
The CEO of hvg graduated from the Károly Marx University of Economics with a degree in economics (1975), and then completed the training of the National Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ), which also works as a cadre trainer (1985). This in itself would not be interesting, I mean the course, but it is yes that Sauer first founded hvg and only then applied for the MÚZ course.
His efforts were crowned with success as the communist regime recognized his work. According to the article of the Pest County Newspaper of April 2, 1986
he received an award for Outstanding Work, which was otherwise presented to journalists on the occasion of the anniversary of his "liberation."
Although the hvg constantly boasts that even before the change of regime it hit a critical tone against the repressive state party, this is true for at most a year or two before the collapse of communism. Their newspaper was the classic pseudo-press product: they were always careful, especially in their first ten years, not to hurt their possible criticism of the state party.
Saauer struggled first as a columnist and then as a deputy editor-in-chief, and then, from 1989, as managing director, he managed the HVG group, which published the paper. So Saerer laid the foundation for his future, and of course his system of political relations, even in socialism.
He put family members in position
After the change of regime, his career did not slip out, in fact, he managed to make one step forward by becoming the company's president and CEO in 2003. He has maintained his left-wing relations throughout: to this day he maintains good relations with several socialist, DK and Momentum politicians.
Sauer is one of the leaders who can avoid the public as much as he can. Due to his left-wing embeddedness, his connections in the party state and, of course, his wealth, it is no exaggeration to call Péter Szauer a red baron. He has given very few interviews in the last 30 years, his media appearances were minimal, so his name barely appeared in the press. Strangely, the hiding media owner was less restrained in placing family members in position. If someone takes a closer look at the hvg staff, you can see that
he almost made a family business out of the paper.
In March last year, his son, Tamás Szauer, was appointed director of the marketing and distribution department of HVG Zrt. The owner of hvg taught his child in elite schools, having a master’s degree in management from Class Business School in London, Imperial College London. He later worked for international companies such as Bloomberg and Deloitte. The younger Sauer also tried his hand at politics for a short time: around 2017, he was the finance director of the Momentum Movement. It was during this time that articles in support of the radical left party often appeared on the hvg.
His wife, Zsuzsa Gyimesi, also got a job at the newspaper. "The gastro-journalist of hvg.hu, Zsuzsa Gyimesi, tells where she ate the most delicious fish and oysters of her life, drank the promising Hungarian champagnes and wines, and where Aperol Spritz falls best" - this is how Gyimesi's article was introduced in 2018, not to mention that the owner's wife is the author. It is by no means incidental that Gyimesi is featured as an employee of the gastro column in the imprint of the paper.
Her daughter, Judit Szauer, was also given the opportunity to appear in the left-wing paper: in 2018, an interview with her entitled "We hacked Lake Balaton" appeared with her, where she was introduced as a gastro-communication expert. As in the case of Gyimesi, it was silenced here that he was a fairly close relative of the leader of the group of companies that published the paper.
One of his journalists reported it because he threatened to make his job impossible
The hvg was shaken by a more serious scandal in the early 2000s, which caused Péter Félix, one of the paper's journalists, to crash with Sauer. According to Félix, in the heightened mood, the CEO of HVG Zrt. Threatened to make his editorial work impossible. The journalist filed a private prosecution in court for the ominous statement. He justified his report on the grounds that he could reasonably assume that the CEO would pay off his threat and make his journalistic activity impossible, as he had previously been in conflict with the management of the paper in matters concerning the management of HVG Rt.
As a continuation of the story, Iván Lipovecz, the editor-in-chief of the paper at the time, wanted to persuade Félix to withdraw his report. He wanted to achieve this by force: he was accused of suspending his employment. Under pressure, criminal proceedings were instituted against Lipovecz, who was suspected of committing the crime of attempting coercion. The editor-in-chief's "action" presumably began with Sauer, from which it follows that the work of the editorial board is far from independent of the publisher.
One of the biggest lies: left-wing video forgery in Baja
Perhaps the biggest news scam since the change of regime can be linked to his paper. In October 2013, hvg came up with a recording that was published under the title "Here is the Evidence of Fraud: Vote for Money and Firewood in Baja". In the introduction to the article, it was stated, among other things, that "there is clear evidence that there was a purchase of votes in the Baja by-elections".
The Socialists planned to build a complete communication campaign on the video released by the Sauer.
Attila Mesterházy, the then president of the MSZP, told the world at a press conference that Fidesz had committed electoral fraud. Incidentally, a second round of the by-elections was held in Baja a few days earlier, where the ruling party candidate won. The video turned out to be fake that evening. MSZP and hvg.hu denied this for days, but the police finally confirmed that the recording was false and identified its characters and locations. On behalf of hvg, editor-in-chief Gábor Gavra fell into the scandal.
Saauer's arrogant attitude is well illustrated by the fact that in his interview with the Media Market after the events, he stated that "Hvg and Hvg.hu have had the professional-ethical requirements so far, and will continue to do so". He later added a multifaceted approach to topics. "The question is, where is Hvg.hu? We don't usually change our approach just because systems or regimes are changing. We have declared that we want to inform our reading camp in a multifaceted, objective, independent of parties way," said modern Hungarian political history. after one of his biggest scandals.
With the "elimination" of Sauer Gavra, he embarked on a serious editorial selection, at the end of which he appointed András Stanislav as the (joint) head of the weekly and the Internet interface. However, his protégé revealed that on the one hand Imre Szekeres worked as a press for the former Minister of Defense, and on the other hand he sold his Slovak-registered company StarLimo to Tamás Welsz, who played a key role in Gábor's Simon's corruption case and later committed suicide. The editorial staff revolted due to the arrival of the socialist cadre, so the owner-CEO was forced to look for a new editor-in-chief. This smaller scene also shows well that Péter Szauer is clearly committed to the left, be it the MSZP, the Ferencs Gyurcsány or the Momentum.
They wrote their own grievance anonymously, but it turned out they were lying
While perhaps the most unscrupulous case was video counterfeiting in Baja, the lies of the Sauer paper are inexhaustible. It was another memorable story when an expiring article appeared on the surface about the harm to the owner and his daughter in a pitiful way.
In November 2017, an anonymous article appeared on hvg.hu that on a low-cost flight in Budapest, a stewardess would have spoken to one of the passengers in an unqualified tone before take-off, and then when the passenger's daughter asked for it, they were ordered from the deck by police. . The article did not name who was involved, but it was later revealed that
He was the owner and daughter of Péter Szauer HVG.
The already serious ethical questions have been raised as to the extent to which a writing can be considered objective in terms of the grievances of the owner of the newspaper, moreover, this very important fact is kept out of the public eye. However, the problem with the hvg article was not only that, but also that they wanted to expire the airline with a story that was not true. As it turned out, the writing was full of clear lies, it had to be modified 17 times after publication. Among other things, for example, because a picture of a stewardess who was not even on the plane was reported. Later, the airline reported the newspaper for the lie.
Fake report and campaign help for a left-wing politician
It was also questionable in the press ethics when the left-wing newspaper published a sham report on the Billy Elliot musical. In the summer of 2018, the Erkel Theater reduced the number of musical performances because not enough tickets were sold out. It was then that hvg steered the story to an ideological level. The newspaper tried to explain the cancellation of the lectures by touching on the issue of homosexuality. To this end, a material was published in which non-existent viewers recalled the newspaper’s claims. The sham report caused great outrage.
Saauer’s left-wing stance is well known, as is well shown by the fact that his paper’s employees prefer to attack the government and its supporters in an alpine way. On the day of the last EU election, a hvg employee joked about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Fidesz. "Take another man with you! See if the bridge breaks!" - wrote on his self-produced picture published on his community page showing participants in the Peace Procession as they walk on Margaret Bridge. The revelation had no consequences, though it was not the first scandal of the paper’s employee.
Last year’s municipal election campaign revealed that there is a living connection between the hvg and the left, with the paper making its articles to political order. András Pikó, the Momentum mayoral candidate, boasted in a Facebook group that "two journalists deal with Józsefváros separately at the hvg".