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Alternate History

Media in Warsaw Pact countries (President Welles)

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An overview of media (television, radio, press and the internet) in the Eastern European Socialist countries of the Warsaw Pact, as of 2012.

Hungary

Newspapers

The four main Hungarian newspapers are Népszabadság (the central newspaper of the MSZMP party), Magyar Nemzet, Népszava and Magyar Hírlap, all four state-controlled and edited. The more light-hearted Esti hírlap provides a variety, often containing less political news and more entertainment content. Népsport, the daily sports paper is also very popular.

Popular weekly magazines include Nők lapja (Women's Magazine), Ifjúsági Magazin (Youth Magazine) and Film-színház-muzsika (Film-Theatre-Music). Monthly periodicals include the film journal, Filmvilág and the science fiction anthology, Galaktika.

Several illegal newspapers also exist, but most of them only temporarily, and often banned by the state. The most prominent of these was the liberal Beszélő, which was banned in 1985, then resurfaced between 1992 and 1997, and again banned. Two of it's main editors, Iván Pető and Bálint Magyar were sentenced to a year in prison. Another short-lived paper was the right-wing Magyarság, edited by András Bencsik and Sándor Pörzse. Pörzse, a sport journalist was fired from the radio when the paper was banned, in 2004.

Radio

There are currently three, state sponsored radio channels in Hungary: Kossuth (MR1), a general public service radio, Petőfi (MR2), a more entertainment-oriented program, and Bartók (MR3), an intellectual and educational channel.

Television

Television broadcasts began in Hungary in 1957, when the state controlled Magyar Televízió (Hungarian Television), abbrevated as MTV, was launched. It took over the role of the main broadcasting media in the mid-1960s, and expanded further in the next decades. A second channel was launched in 1971. From then on, the two programs are known as TV1 and TV2. A third channel, TV3 was launched in 1996, although it only broadcasts in a limited timeslot.

Programming is typical for a Communist state-sponsored media. The Hungarian Television spends a large amount of it's programming on educational and cultural programs, as well as a certain amount of propaganda. Light-hearted entertainment programs are also common, mostly produced by MTV itself. The television also produces a large number of TV movies, plays and series. The most popular series is the soap opera Szomszédok (Neighbors), currently on the air for it's 25th consequetive year.

A number of popular American series are also broadcast, usually a few years after their original US premiere (although a heavy selection is made based on ideological content). Also, Western European programs are popular, as well as (of course) many Eastern European, mostly Soviet programs.

Nation-wide talent contests, such as Ki mit tud? (a general talent show) and Táncdalfesztivál (a pop music competition) are often held with huge success. Comedians are also popular, including the Iván Bagi - Olivér Nacsa duo and Zoltán Kőhalmi (both discovered in Ki mit tud? programs).

Romania

Television

Romanian television broadcasts began in 1956, when the state-controlled TVR (Televiziunea Romana) was launched. A second program, TVR2 (Programul 2) was launched in 1968. In the beginning, TVR's program was very limited, later it was expanded. In the 1990s, an additional channel, TVR3 was launched. Although less strict than in the Ceausescu-era, most of TVR's programming still consists of state-manipulated news and Communist propaganda.

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