Propaganda machine

Propaganda outlets Magyar Nemzet, Mediaworks, and Origo lead in press correction lawsuit losses last year

In keeping with our long-standing tradition, we asked the Metropolitan Court of Budapest to tell us which press products lost how many press rectification and personality rights lawsuits last year. According to the data we received from the court, Magyar Nemzet lost the most press correction lawsuits, with a total of 7. Mediaworks was the negative record holder in terms of personality rights lawsuits, with 25 convictions. Átlátszó, RTL, and Telex won all the cases against them, while Pesti Srácok lost all its cases.

There were sixty-one press correction lawsuits at the metropolitan court last year, of which twenty-five resulted in a conviction.

At the beginning of 2018, we published our first story on the number of press correction lawsuits lost by various media outlets (both pro-government and independent). We received the figures from the Metropolitan Court of Budapest, following an FOI request. Since then, we have continued to monitor and publish the number of lost press lawsuits: in 2017, 53 lawsuits for rectification were lost by the government’s popular media, 109 in 2018, 73 in 2019, 57 in 2020, and 54 in 2021. In 2022, the pro-government press lost 29 lawsuits.

As usual, we asked the Budapest Metropolitan Court in an FOI request this year how many cases of rectification were dismissed by the court against pro-government media, HírTV, Magyar Nemzet, Mediaworks, Pesti Srácok, and TV2.

In 2023, a total of 22 lawsuits were lost by pro-government media products, with Magyar Nemzet losing the most.

35 lawsuits were filed last year against the pro-government media outlets in cases related to press rectification and violation of the right to images and sound recordings. 22 cases were lost in full or in part, meaning that in 62% of cases, the court dismissed these media outlets.

Made with Flourish

The leader this time was Magyar Nemzet (online and in print), against which 10 actions were filed last year, and of these, the court rejected the newspaper in 7 cases (70%): 6 in full and 1 in part. Mediaworks, which brings together the county’s newspapers, came second with 5 out of 7 actions (71%) and Origo came third, losing 4 out of 6 cases (66%).

The Metropolitan Court has now included in the table, in addition to the rectification cases, the lawsuits for the enforcement of the right to reproduce images and sound recordings (i.e. photos, videos, audio files used without permission). However, they are not marked separately, so it is not known against which media products such actions have been brought. They did say that there were only 2 such cases, one partially dismissed and the other ongoing, so these lawsuits do not affect the remedy “ranking”.

Magyar Nemzet lost one of its cases against Átlátszó for a report it had published. The CÖF-CÖKA, a group of publicly-funded posters of the ruling party, held a press conference in early January last year, where they made several untrue statements about the financing of Átlátszó and suggested that our newspaper posed a national security risk – and Magyar Nemzet (and MTI) trumpeted them.

As usual, we asked the Metropolitan Court for data not only on the pro-government press, but also on the independent press.

According to data from the court, independent media outlets lost only 4 cases.

27 cases were filed against the independent press. They won 85% of the cases, and only 14.8% were lost: and each lost one case, completely and partially. RTL (1 action), Telex (2 actions), and Átlátszó (9 actions) won all their cases, while 444 and Magyar Hang did not file any press cases against them.


The court has also sent a detailed table of the infringement of personality rights lawsuits of the various press products. These data show that in 2022, the court received 66 such lawsuits, 62 against newspapers belonging to the ruling party’s media empire.

Of the 62 personality rights cases, 28 cases were dismissed by the court against the pro-government press: 17 in full, 11 in part, and 21 are still ongoing.

In terms of such lawsuits, Mediaworks, which brings together the county newspapers, is the leader. It is the publisher against which the largest number of actions for infringement of personal rights have been brought, 42 in total, and 25 cases (60 percent) the court has ruled against the paper: 15 in full and 10 in part. Of the 42 cases, 10 are ongoing and have not yet been judged.

TV2 was the subject of 13 actions for infringement of personality rights brought before the courts last year, 3 ended in full, 1 in partial conviction, and 9 are still ongoing.

Made with Flourish

No other press product lost a case for violating personality rights last year neither on the pro-government side nor the independent newspapers. Several of last year’s cases are ongoing: as mentioned above, ten against Mediaworks, nine against TV2, one against Public Media, one against Pesti Srácok, one against, and two against

Translated by Zita Szopkó and Krisztián Szabó. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Katalin Erdélyi and Krisztián Szabó and can be found here.