Budapest, March 10 (MTI) – United States Ambassador Colleen Bell emphasised the responsibility of journalist to provide a counterbalance to ignorance, hate and fear at an event marking the Day of Hungarian Press, in Budapest on Thursday.
Addressing an annual awards ceremony at the headquarters of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (MUOSZ), where six eminent journalists were honoured, the ambassador said that whenever only one side of a story is told, a free press seizes the opportunity to tell the other side.
“Journalists, especially good journalists like those you honour today, not only expose them, but also bring attention to the dangers of intolerance, and report with moral and ethical responsibility,” the ambassador said.
“Even in countries like Hungary, where some hate speech is criminalised, there is a fundamental responsibility to rely not only on the government or the courts to address the problem, but for the press to publicly expose the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of those who would peddle racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism,” the ambassador said.
Referring to the first amendment of the US constitution, she said it forbade Congress from passing laws that restrict freedom of speech or freedom of the press. The public good cannot be good if it does not support equal rights, she said.
Freedom of expression is not an absolute right but one rooted in the principle that the right of an individual to express their opinion is permitted insofar as doing does not impinge on the rights of others.
The work is not yet over; every Hungarian deserves freedom of speech, she said, adding that this is road to be taken rather than a final destination since it is impossible to totally eradicate hatred and fear from society. The struggle must continue and be passed to the next generation, the ambassador added.