Deputy spokesperson of the US State Department, Mark Toner expressed concerns about press freedom in Hungary in a statement released on Thursday. According to the statement there is a ”steady decline of media freedom in Hungary”, following the ban of the 444.hu website from the parliament and the ”sudden closure” of Hungary's ”largest independent newspaper”, Népszabadság. It added that the US “as a friend and ally”, encourages the Hungarian government “to ensure an open media environment that exposes citizens to a diversity of viewpoints and opinions.”
Tamás Menczer, spokesperson of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade rejected the ”completely unfounded criticism”, emphasising that none of the freedom rights are under threat in Hungary. Mr Menczer said that those who are concerned about the decline of media freedom surely don't have credible information about Hungary, as anybody reading our press will see the diversity of opinions being expressed. The suspension of Népszabadság was an economic decision by the owners and “we are eagerly waiting to see whether the US government will have their say in the decisions of media owners”, he added.