The court found that the smear campaign against Political Capital and its director is based on a lie
In its 17 February verdict, a first instance court called on the print and online editions of Magyar Nemzet to issue a correction to the article that started the smear campaign against Péter Krekó late last year. The publication claimed that Political Capital’s director encouraged the opposition to stir up anti-vaccination sentiments because the Orbán government would then suffer the consequences. The truth, however, is that Péter Krekó’s statement warned about the risks governmental communication posed to help avoid a decline in the popularity of vaccines. While Magyar Nemzet spread the lies about Péter Krekó’s statement to Politico extremely vocally, it was just as silent in front of the court: they did not submit a written defense and their legal representative did not show up to the hearing.
According to the verdict, Magyar Nemzet’s editorial has to publish a correction within five days of a legally binding ruling on the front page of the print and online editions.
“In our article published on 29 December 2020 entitled ‘The left might bet on anti-vaccination sentiments,’ we depicted the fact that political analyst Péter Krekó in his statement to Politico discussed the political consequences of the coronavirus crisis and the low trust in vaccinations in a false manner by distorting and not disclosing key aspects of the article and the statement to suggest that Péter Krekó recommended to left-wing parties that they start an anti-vaccination campaign.”
In truth, Péter Krekó’s statement in Politico did not address left-wing parties’ campaigns and their strategies, and Péter Krekó did not make recommendations about electoral strategy. Péter Krekó criticized the Hungarian government because he believes that the cabinet undermined trust in officially EU-approved vaccines, too, by promoting the Russian vaccine.”
Péter Krekó is represented in this procedure by lawyers Balázs Tóth and Tibor Sepsi. Other lawsuits are also in progress because of the disinformation campaign.