Legally binding ruling: Péter Krekó won a lawsuit against Figyelő, Origo and 888 for spreading false information


Political Capital Director Péter Krekó filed a lawsuit against pro-government portals in 2019 after Zoltán Kiszelly (the author’s name was later removed from the article) spread false information about him in an article published on 4 January 2019, entitled Who is Péter Krekó working for? Other “media outlets” republished the text. In 2020, the Budapest Regional Court found in a first instance ruling that the articles contain false statements, which harmed Péter Krekó’s good reputation.

The Budapest Regional Tribunal now stated in a legally binding ruling that the weekly Figyelő (the editor-in-chief of which was Tamás Lánczi at the time) breached Péter Krekó’s personal right to a good reputation when it falsely claimed in the article that Péter Krekó participates in a secret British psychological warfare campaign, which is an influence operation dressed up as a scientific endeavor.

The Gábor G. Fodor-led 888 and Origo republished the statements of this articles, so the court also condemned them in the second instance ruling.

The verdict says that the misleading articles’ claims that the “affected is led not by his openly stated opinions but another interest that is not visible to the public”, namely that he partakes in a secretly controlled activity in Hungary with his criticism of the government’s foreign policy. In the public discourse of pro-Fidesz circles, government criticism is often depicted as an act of serving foreign interests. The verdict debunks such claims.

The second instance ruling obliges all three outlets to publish the court’s verdict over the titles of the articles and keep it there for at least 30 days or until the articles become unavailable. Moreover, the court forced the defendants to pay grievances.

The analyst was represented in court by the lawyer of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Balázs Tóth.