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Slow coverage of Pope's death gets Hungarian TV news chief fired

UPI News Service, 04/14/2005 

Hungarian state television has fired its news director for not interrupting regular programming of the action movie "Congo" when Pope John Paul II died.

An internal network investigation concluded Gyorgy Nika allowed "a full 24 minutes" to pass before breaking in with the news, the Budapest Sun said Thursday. By that time, the movie had ended.

Annamaria Szalai, a member of the National Radio and Television Board, said the state broadcaster had broken media law by not being "timely, comprehensive and accurate" in its coverage.

The network had argued it announced the news in an onscreen ticker on one of its channels, although its second channel failed to report the news in the first half hour at all.

However, local media suggested Nika's dismissal was cosmetic, as the network was known to be already searching for a successor for months.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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