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How Fake News Travels – Slovakian Newsportal Fails to Fact-Check Hungarian Opposition Media Claims

Dániel Deme 2022.06.18.
Minister Gergely Gulyás speaks during the regular government press conference

Minister Gergely Gulyás speaks during his regular government press conference

One of the largest Slovakian newsportals, Aktuality.sk has published an article detailing how the government of Viktor Orbán is planning mass redundancies in the Hungarian public sector. For good measure, the article was accompanied by an unflattering photograph of the Prime Minister surrounded by his businessmen friends. According to Aktuality.sk, although those working in the government institutions in Budapest will be spared, a large number of redundancies are expected outside the capital. As it turns out, the news was adopted from the largest Hungarian opposition daily Népszava, which in itself should have called for some measure of caution from the Slovakian newsportal when they decided to republish the news. However, Aktuality.sk is owned by Ringier Axel Springer, a German media network known for its one-sided and highly critical attitude toward the Hungarian government’s policies.

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Eszter Párkányi of the conservative thinktank Alapjogokért Központ had replied to Hungary Today’s request for clarification, saying that the Minister responsible for the Prime Minister’s office on Friday flatly refuted these claims during his regular press briefing. Gergely Gulyás, reacting to a question concerning the alleged redundancy plans, had unequivocally confirmed that

this is “fake news,” there are no plans for mass redundancies among government employees.

He continued by saying that the government regards the protection of jobs as one of its fundamental tasks, and as the information listed in the original article is inconsistent with this goal, the article is therefore tantamount to disinformation aiming to shake public confidence. According to Párkányi, it is unclear whether the Népszava article was simply misinformed, or whether it was an attempt to create panic among government employees.

Featured photo: MTI/Soós Lajos


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