The freedom of the press is fully guaranteed by Hungarian legislation, media operate on a market basis and the government of Hungary has “neither the right nor the intention to interfere in such matters in any way”, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said in a letter addressed to his Dutch counterpart.
In the letter, which Varga posted on Facebook on Thursday, he said he regretted to learn Wopke Hoekstra had told the Dutch daily De Volkskrant that the freedom of the press was restricted in Hungary.
Varga said Hungarian media outlets operate on a market basis and everyday experience also showed “that there is real diversity in public debates and in the media in Hungary”.
“All objective analyses show that the market share of government-critical media in Hungary is well above 50 percent,” he added.
“The vast majority of the most-read Hungarian online news portals strongly criticise the government, and a … Hungarian commercial TV channel with the highest viewership is among the most critical channels,” Varga said.
Varga suggested Hoekstra to review the situation of the Hungarian media and added that “I sincerely trust that you will choose from credible sources in the future when gathering information about Hungary, because only facts can dispel the current misunderstandings.”
“It is also a well-known fact to the Government of Hungary that false statements and fake news about the situation of the freedom of the Hungarian press appear regularly,” he said. Only facts can dispel the current misunderstandings, he added.
“This is all the more important right now since the challenges we all face as EU Member States can only be solved if we can think together, cooperate and form opinions in an evidence-based manner,” Varga said in the letter.
Featured photo by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI