The government has taken legal steps over “fake news” on conditions at an orphanage in Kalocsa, in southern Hungary, the state secretary in charge of social affairs at the human resources ministry said.
Attila Fülöp said on Facebook that the orphanage was carrying out “important and serious professional work”. He slammed “opposition media for making baseless and unlawful remarks that unsettle and cause disadvantage to children’s lives without consequences”.
The children under care and staff “must never become tools for political games”, he added. Fülöp said news portal 24.hu operated by the Central Media group had been repeatedly publishing fake reports about the orphanage. As a result, a request has been submitted to the Budapest Municipal Court to establish that legal violations had been committed, a correction must be issued and a fine imposed, he added. The fine will be used to finance developments in the education of children at the Kalocsa orphanage, he said. The office of the ombudsman for fundamental rights said on Monday that the ombudsman had ordered a review of the conditions at the children’s home in Kalocsa based on media reports and lawmaker accounts of “serious concerns” and allegations regarding the institution. Independent MP Bernadett Szél announced that she was turning to the ombudsman and the human resources ministry over reports of child abuse at the Kalocsa orphanage in August last year.