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Government rejects criticism by US Secretary of State over media freedom

May 3rd, 2021

In an online press conference, Antony Blinken expressed concern over media pluralism in Hungary and called for a more diverse media environment.

Answering a question by Telex during a virtual international meeting with eight invited journalists, Antony Blinken called it ‘ironic’ that concerns over press pluralism should emerge after Hungary got rid of Soviet domination. The US Secretary of State urged the government to promote an open environment and warned that in their efforts to compete with the West, China and Russia ‘undermine the democratic and sovereign will of many countries in the region’. He also remarked that the US wants to improve cooperation with Hungary on economic matters and energy security as well as to support democratic institutions, rule of law and human rights.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó dismissed Antony Blinken’s criticism. Szijjártó said that the US should not worry about democracy in Hungary, because Prime Minister Orbán ‘is a freedom fighter’ and the first politician to openly demand the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.

Magyar Nemzet’s Zsolt Bayer likens the call for more open media by the US Secretary of State to ‘colonial diktats’. The pro-government pundit finds it ironic that Antony Blinken is concerned about media freedom in Hungary, while, as he puts it, an employee of CNN in secretly recorded footage openly admitted that CNN operated as a propaganda machine and did everything to weaken President Trump’s chances in the 2020 election. Bayer also claims that US online media firms censored reports about Hunter Biden’s corrupt business in Ukraine. Bayer goes on to accuse the US and Secretary of State Blinken in person of an ‘imperial mindset’ akin to the Soviet mentality which tried to cow Hungarians into accepting Soviet ideology.  The US wants to use its ideological power to promote US interests, he adds, including selling relatively expensive shale gas in Central Europe.

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