- 5 Jan 2018 7:56 AM
David Kostelancik is the highest ranking American diplomat in Budapest, as Ambassador Colleen Bell, Barack Obama’s political appointee left the capital before Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.
“Government allies have steadily acquired control and influence over the media market, without objection from the regulatory body designed to prevent monopolies. Most recently, companies affiliated with pro-government figures acquired control of the last remaining independent regional newspapers.” – Kostelancik told journalists.
“Journalists who work for these outlets— or who used to work for these outlets—tell us that they must follow pro-government editorial guidelines dictated by the outlets’ new owners, and that they do not have the freedom to publish articles that are critical of the government.” – he added.
According to the diplomat “there are still independent and opposition media outlets here that are able to practice journalism with broad editorial freedom. This is a good thing. However, their numbers are dwindling, and they face challenges in the advertising market that the pro-government outlets do not”.
Kostelancik also said that “some media outlets closely linked to the government published the names of individual journalists they characterized as threats to Hungary. This is dangerous to the individuals, and also, to the principles of a free, independent media”.
Fidesz group leader Gergely Gulyas told a press conference that this claim is “factually incorrect”. “It is detrimental to the perception of the US in Hungary if it tries to interfere in domestic political affairs,” Gulyas added.
Source: Hungary Journal
Republished with permission