US Secretary of State voices alarm over Hungary press freedom

Photo: AP US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced alarm on Wednesday at a deterioration of press freedom in Hungary and vowed to press PM Viktor Orban to respect pluralism, AFP reported.

Blinken, in a roundtable ahead of World Press Freedom Day, warned that Russia and China were seeking to "undermine the democratic and sovereign will" of Central and Eastern European nations, which he urged to hold firm to principles of openness.

"We have real concern that is shared by international press freedom advocates and many Hungarians over the decline of the pluralism and diversity and independent voices," Blinken said in response to a question from independent Hungarian news outlet Telex.

"That is the fabric of democracy, and so we would certainly urge the government of Hungary to promote an open environment," he added.

In February, the Klubradio station, whose news and talk content is often critical of the Hungarian government, lost its appeal to keep its broadcasting license. Despite ongoing legal challenges, Klubradio said its frequency was awarded this month to Spirit FM, whose owner is allied with Orban.

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