The State Secretary for International Communications and Relations has said an article published by the Guardian newspaper criticizing press freedom in Hungary “simply doesn’t square with the reality of today’s Hungary”.
Zoltán Kovács issued a response to the article, written by Timothy Garton Ash, in the letters section of the newspaper.
“Your correspondent frets over the freedom of the media in our country, yet I first read his article in our own domestic press,” Kovács said.
According to Kovács, “stridently critical news portals in Hungary attract a larger daily readership, and these also have a dominant audience share on TV, where some 71 percent of Hungarians get their information”.
The State Secretary recalls that according to Timothy Garton Ash the governing parties have “effectively demolished the independence of the judiciary”. But in fact, “Hungary’s reforms of the judiciary were thoroughly reviewed by the EU and the Venice Commission and all questions were resolved,” Kovács states in his response.
“Garton Ash’s ideological convictions are defied by facts,” he adds. Amongst these, the State Secretary mentions that voter participation in Hungary has been going up, not down, the number of marriages has also gone up since 2010, while the number of divorces is down, and the number of abortions has fallen by almost a third.
Kovács also stressed that the birth rate is up and rising and the employment rate of women is at an all-time high, while Hungary’s GDP growth leads the EU today at over 5 percent.
“Unemployment has dropped to historic levels, interest rates remain low, and real wages are growing. Hungarians who left following the 2008 financial crisis are now returning in far greater numbers,” the State Secretary adds.