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U.S. program to support access to ʼunbiasedʼ information in Hungary

The United States Department of State has published an open tender "for projects that increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues in Hungary". The deadline for submitting applications is January 19.

Organized by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), the aim of the program, as outlined in the announcement is to "increase citizens’ access to objective information about domestic and global issues of public importance, by enhancing local media’s ability to engage a larger audience, including their print, multimedia, and online readership. The program should improve the quality of local traditional and online media and increase the public’s access to reliable and unbiased information."

On offer is funding of USD 500,000-700,000 per application. Applicants should include an anticipated start date between May 2018 – July 2018, and the period of performance should be between 18-24 months.

The announcement comes less than a month after U.S. Embassy Chargé dʼAffaires David Kostelancik gave an outspoken presentation about the freedom of press in Hungary, noting: "Government allies have steadily acquired control and influence over the media market, without objection from the regulatory body designed to prevent monopolies."

The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade replied that it "rebuffs any attempt by any country to interfere with the parliamentary elections due in a few months".