Hungary summons US diplomat over negative comments on media

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary’s foreign ministry says it has summoned the top United States diplomat in Hungary over comments he made about the country’s “negative trends” for press freedom.

State Secretary Levente Magyar said the remarks by David Kostelancik, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, amounted to interference with parliamentary elections expected next year and eroded bilateral trust.

Kostelancik expressed a long list of U.S. concerns during a speech Tuesday for the Hungarian Association of Journalists.

They included the dwindling number of independent publications in Hungary, the government’s use of publicly funded ads to distort the media landscape and the increased control supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Orban have over news outlets.

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Magyar said ministry officials expressed their objections to Kostelancik at a meeting on Wednesday.

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