Budapest, March 31 (EFE) .- Almost thirty independent media in Hungary ask today in an open letter to the government of ultranationalist Viktor Orbán not to obstruct their work on the pandemic and guarantee journalists to be able to report on the real situation of the coronavirus in the country.
The 28 media that have written the open letter denounce that journalists cannot work in health centers and that they cannot directly interview health workers.
Since the pandemic broke out a year ago, the authorities have restricted the work of journalists in hospitals and prohibited health personnel from speaking to the press, so the media must turn to anonymous medical sources.
Among the media that have signed the letter are, among others, digital Telex, Hvg and 24, magazines such as Magyar Narancs and televisions such as ATV and RTL.
According to the signatories, “the lack of information has serious consequences” and is one of the reasons why “the dangers of the pandemic are underestimated.”
In many countries, including Spain, Germany, Italy, the United States or Australia, “they have recognized the importance of presenting the work carried out in hospitals,” the document adds.
In a first reaction, the Secretary of State for Communication, Zoltán Kovács, rejected the criticism and called the media “left-wing portals” that spread “false information” to discredit Hungarian health care.
“In hospitals you have to cure and not film. The operative body informs the public opinion every day,” Kovács said.
Since the pandemic broke out, and with the exception of the summer months of last year, the daily reports of the operative body that coordinates the work of the fight against the pandemic are carried out telematically, without journalists.
Although the media can send their questions before press conferences, it is the participants who choose which ones to answer.
“We consider it of fundamental importance that the Government and the operative body offer real information”, indicate the signatories, who ask for press conferences in the open air, with the presence of journalists and that they be authorized to work in hospitals and vaccination centers “respecting the maximum human dignity of workers and patients “.
Hungary is one of the countries hardest hit by the third wave of the pandemic, with more than 300 deaths a day and saturated hospitals.
The Orbán government has been repeatedly criticized by various press organizations for making it difficult for independent journalists to work.
(c) EFE Agency