Ruling Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi rejected criticism concerning the state of media freedom in Hungary at a European parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday.
The hearing held by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) focussed on the freedom of the media and free speech.
Péter Erdelyi of news website 444.hu told the meeting that the manoeuvring space of 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 in terms of LIBE standards”.
“Everyone has the right to be a political activist but they should not call themselves objective journalists then,” Hidvéghi said.