Four Hungarian journalists were on hunger strike for a fourth day Wednesday to protest government influence in media coverage, close to a year since a disputed media law came into force.
"We are going to stay until things change, even if we risk hospital," one of those on strike, Balazs Nagy Navarro, the head of a trade union representing television employees, told AFP.
"Our strike will continue until ... the world realises that what is happening in Hungary under the label of 'press freedom': employees terrorised, programmes manipulated or falsified."
The "final straw," he said, was a December 3 television report in which the face of former chief judge Zoltan Lomnici was pixellated for no apparent reason.
Aired on the state-run MTV channel and Duna Television, this gave the impression that Lomnici, a critic of the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was a dubious character, Navarro said.
The protest comes close to a year since a media law came into effect in January that its many critics both at home and abroad say constitutes a major attack on press freedom in the European Union member state.
The legislation for example requires online media to provide "balanced coverage" without specifying what this means, while journalists can also be forced to reveal sources on grounds of national security.
It also created a media authority staffed by Fidesz-appointees which can levy large fines for reports it deems to "breach human dignity".
Despite some changes, media rights groups remain critical, with the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) saying last month the legislation "remains highly troubling."