Hungary’s foreign minister has summoned the US chargé d’affaires David Kostelancik over plans to fund local media outlets in Hungary.
Government insiders state that the foreign ministry considers the move a political “intervention” ahead of next year’s general election.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has summoned the U.S. Chargé d‘Affaires, asking for an explanation, and told him that we consider this a political intervention by the U.S. Department of State ahead of the elections,” spokesman Tamas Menczer said in a statement emailed to Reuters earlier today.
The United States said that it would devote 700,000 USD to fund local media businesses in Hungary to “achieve more balanced public information” and “educate journalists on how to practice their trade”.
In reaction to the plans, Péter Szijjártó, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said that it is shocking and very unusual that “a democratic country begins media financing in an allied democratic state from its own budgetary resources”.
The minister said that he is currently awaiting answers from the State Department after summoning Kostelancik this morning.
“What is this if not an intervention in the election campaign and the domestic politics of Hungary?,” the minister added.
He stated that Hungary refrains from meddling in the politics of other countries’ and expects the same in return. “We don’t do it and we expect the same from our allies,” the minister concluded.