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Zoltán Kovács, Hungary’s state secretary for international communication and relations, has responded to an opinion piece on claiming that Hungary did not belong to the countries where “democratically-elected leaders are increasingly fuelling the spread of disinformation”, saying Hungary’s government had fought against “fake news for the past decade” and it was rather the authors themselves who were engaging in such activities.
In an opinion piece published on July 6, Péter Krekó and Sohini Chatterjee listed several governments which they said disseminated disinformation to “create chaos” and “confuse the public”. They accused Hungary’s government of spreading disinformation and creating “the most centralised media empire ever within the European Union”.
In reaction, Kovács noted that Krekó was a founding member of Political Capital, a policy research institute “contracted to conduct communication campaigns for hundreds of millions of forints” by the Socialist governments under Prime Ministers Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. Regarding accusations that the government has “successfully blamed Iranian students in Hungary for the onset of the [coronavirus] pandemic”, Kovács said “no one has blamed the Iranian students for anything”. He added that it was “a fact”, however, that the Iranians had been the first to be diagnosed with coronavirus in Hungary. Kovács insisted that “the liberals’ coordinated campaign” against the Hungarian law granting special powers to the government during the coronavirus epidemic was “another example of disinformation spread by politically motivated experts against the Hungarian government”. It has since become clear that the law, “rather than plunging the country into authoritarian chaos,” had served the country well, he said.