Ruling Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi has rejected criticism concerning the state of media freedom in Hungary at a European parliamentary committee hearing. The hearing held by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Wednesday focussed on the freedom of the media and free speech.
Péter Erdélyi of news website 444.hu told the meeting that space for the independent press had significantly narrowed in recent years. Journalists have been under threat in some cases and attempts to intimidate media workers have been made by the authorities, he said.
Hidvéghi told the meeting that the free press was a key element of democracy and insisted that public discourse was even freer and more vigorous in Hungary than in many other European countries. He described the reports about the situation in Hungary “one-sided and manipulative; even by LIBE standards”. “Everyone has the right to be a political activist but then they should not call themselves objective journalists,” Hidvéghi said.