Hungary using ‘misleading’ reports to lobby US Congress

Lobbyists of the Hungarian government in the US House of Representatives are using “misleading” reports to get a resolution supporting Hungarian nationalist prime minister Viktor Orbán passed, the Hungarian press has reported.

The resolution, circulated by pro-Orbán lobbyists and Republican congressman Paul Gosar, contain several misleading or even false statements.

Among others, the Hungarian government claims that the Central European University (CEU), an American educational institution based in Budapest, for which a legislative amendment initiated by Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party made it impossible to stay in the country, was not ousted from the Hungarian capital.

The resolution also includes statements claiming that Mr Orbán is an “extremely anti-Putin” figure, who supports EU sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine. Although Hungary is a NATO member state, the Hungarian PM maintains close ties to Moscow: he is one of the most welcome European leaders in Russia and has been outspoken against the EU’s sanctions policy.

Furthermore, the report claims that the Central European Press and Media Foundation (KESMA), a media empire that unites close to 500 pro-government media outlets, does not hold a significant level of media concentration. In addition, the draft resolution also lists Karc FM, a pro-government radio station owned by KESMA, as an opposition outlet.

The Hungarian media pointed out the draft resolution was a response to a bipartisan initiative in the US Senate that would have condemned Mr Orbán’s autocratic regime. The resolution is still up for a vote in the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

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