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Hungary: TV blackout to protest proposed ad tax

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Hungary: TV blackout to protest proposed ad tax

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Television channels in Hungary went off air for 15 minutes on Thursday evening in protest at a proposed bill which would tax advertising revenue up to 40 percent.

More than 100 private media companies cut their services. Newspapers planned blank front pages. Websites stopped working. Radio stations fell silent.

Hungary’s media companies are furious over the proposed advertising tax. Media insiders say it would cripple the industry and tighten the government’s hold on the press.

The tax would be the latest in a series of so-called special levies passed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government on sectors typically dominated by foreign companies — like banking, energy, retail and telecommunications.

According to one MP, under the bill, even companies like Facebook and Google could be taxed.