In 1880, two parliamentary stenographers named Hugó Maszák and Géza Egyesy, petitioned the Hungarian prime minister with a wish to establish their own news agency. Having received the assent of the emperor, Franz Joseph, an agency was established in 1881.
In 1928, the Hungarian News Agency Corporation moved its headquarters to the capital, Budapest. The agency purchased a majority holding in the Electrophone Corporation and was duly granted the concession relating to the radio messenger service. In addition, the agency also went on to establish the Hungarian Advertising Agency Corporation, the Hungarian Film Office and the office of the Hungarian National Correspondent Company. A modern media empire was born.
By 1931, MTI were publishing some 200 to 250 news articles per day and acting as partner to 25 international news agencies worldwide, with 26 domestic offices coordinating a total of 473 journalistic correspondents.
In January 1945, following the great wars and the siege of Budapest, the News Agency restarted its activities, although shortly after this, the existing government confiscated the assets of the agency, which amounted to a nationalisation of the entire company.
In 1947, first the Hungarian Film Office became independent, followed, in 1948, by the Hungarian Advertising Agency Corporation.
In 1950, the Hungarian News Agency was completely nationalized and this led to a move towards independence by Hungarian Radio.
The Hungarian News Agency was transplanted to a new location in 1953.
In 1956, the Hungarian National Photo Company merged with the News Agency, thus extending the scope of the photo services provided by MTI. This meant that the revolutionary events of that year could be extensively documented by photographers.
With the far-reaching political changes of 1989, the Hungarian News Agency established the National Press Service, in order to serve and uphold the democratic transformation process. By providing their services virtually free-of-charge to new parties, an opportunity was provided for new political voices to express their views to a broad and inclusive Hungarian audience.
After 1997, following a change in the law, MTI began operating as a limited company and, effectively, became the national news agency of the Republic of Hungary.
In 2010, the history of MTI turned a further significant page, when the government transformed the whole Hungarian media landscape, including that of public service media companies. MTI became a non-profit company. No longer responsible to Parliament and the Owners’ Advisory Board, MTI was now to be owned by the newly appointed Public Service Foundation. The Hungarian Media Support and Asset Management Fund (MTVA) was created to manage MTI’s assets, along with the appointment of a new director general.
Although 2011 was the year of a complete restructuring of the public service system, the Hungarian News Agency’s main objective remains the provision of fast, trustworthy and reliable news and media services. It also provides correspondents to China, Russia, Italy, Germany, focussing primarily on matters of Hungarian interest and concern.
From 1 July 2015 the Hungarian News Agency continues to operate within Duna Media Service Non-Profit Ltd. which was created by merging the four Hungarian public service media providers due to a change in media law.