Hungary deflects US concerns about declining media freedoms

BUDAPEST, Hungary – A spokesman’s for Hungary’s foreign ministry says U.S. concerns about press freedoms and media diversity after the suspension of an opposition newspaper are “without any foundation” and cannot be based on trustworthy information.

Tamas Mencer, head of the foreign ministry’s press department, said Friday that Hungarian media represent a wide range of views and that press freedoms were not at risk in the country.

On Thursday, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was “following closely” the closure of the Nepszabadsag newspaper and news website’s banishment from Parliament after its reporters broke rules restricting camera access to lawmakers.

Mencer echoed the newspaper publisher’s statement that finances prompted the publication’s closure.

He said, “We are curious whether the U.S. government interferes in the decisions of media owners.”