BUDAPEST, Hungary — More than two dozen Hungarian media outlets on Wednesday sent an open letter to the government demanding greater transparency and access to hospitals for journalists covering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only Hungary’s state media have been allowed inside COVID wards, and journalists have complained that a government order prohibiting medical staff from speaking to reporters has made it impossible to report on worsening conditions inside hospitals, creating a false picture of the situation’s severity.
“Doctors and nurses are not permitted to speak publicly while members of the press are not allowed into hospitals, so we are unable to report on what happens there,” the letter reads.
The outlets — 28 in all – demanded that journalists be granted access to report on conditions in COVID-19 wards, and that medical staff, who are prohibited by ministerial decree from speaking to the media, be permitted to give interviews.
“Since people are cut off from this information … many are