It's the latest chapter in the story of a media landscape transformed. When Nepszabadsag, Hungary's most influential opposition paper, was suspended, owners cited low sales - but journalists say it is part of a wider media suppression.

You just do not close a newspaper like this in a moment. So if you do it, then you have other reasons, not economical reasons.

Andras Stumpf, journalist, Mandiner.Hu

The newspaper had always been critical of President Viktor Orban's right-wing populist government, and in the week prior to its suspension, had also published exposes uncovering corruption within Orban's political circles.

Perhaps even more controversial was Nepszabadsag's criticism of the hotly contested Hungarian view on the refugee crisis and the United Nations. 

Since he came to power for the second time in 2010, Orban has continued his transformation of the media, changing the way it is regulated and now, as seen by some, attempting to wield influence over private media too.

"The government doing denial is very strategic. I mean, the saying that there is no interference in the press is almost funny, if you could say so," says Pauline Ades-Mevel of international nonprofit Reporters sans Frontieres. "The interference into the press from the government has happened since 2010, when Viktor Orban, the prime minister, came back to power."

Discontent with the way Orban's government deals with the media is nothing new to the Hungarian people.

Within a year of Orban coming into power, demonstrators were on the streets of Budapest, protesting over the government's new media regulator. The people also take issue with the sale of media outlets to new owners more aligned with their government's policies. 

"One of the general regional trends in recent years has been the withdrawal of foreign capital, of foreign media investors from the region ... some of the biggest investors have indeed left Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic as well. Which is an issue because foreign ownership was seen as a guarantee of editorial independence ... their places have been taken by domestic media oligarchs who have very close relationships to the political parties and political actors," says Peter Bajomi Lazar, head of the Institute of Social Sciences at the Budapest Business School.

Source: Al Jazeera