Fact Check: Swedish TV Did NOT Misrepresent Footage Of Assault On Márton Gulyás


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: Swedish TV Did NOT Misrepresent Footage Of Assault On Márton Gulyás No Fight Scene

Did Sweden's public broadcaster misrepresent footage of Hungarian political activist Márton Gulyás, falsely claiming it showed him being assaulted by Hungarian government supporters? No, that's not true: The 2019 news report showed no scenes of Gulyás getting roughed up by anyone.

The claim appeared in a Hungarian-language video (archived here) on TikTok on October 2, 2023, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories) "🤷 Marxi Gulyás brazenly lies on Swedish TV." It was posted by Kristóf Trombitás, a partner at the Megafon Center, which produces social media content in support of Hungary's governing party, Fidesz. Trombitás says (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories):

Marci Partizán Gulyás is falsifying footage using real, genuine communist methods. Just like it should be done. Our man actually sold a [video of] an old fight ... as if it were footage of a freedom fighter.

Trombitás shows a clip of Gulyás scuffling with street protesters, then continues:

There it is! This footage was actually shot in 2015, when some geezers from the [opposition] beat him up. And they're showing it in Sweden as part of their struggle against Fidesz. And with this clip, they're portraying [Gulyás] as a major anti-Fidesz activist!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Oct 6 04:36:53 2023 UTC)

The video of the assault on Gulyás was filmed on July 12, 2014 -- not 2015 -- by Hungarian news outlet hvg.hu.

Contrary to Trombitás' claim, Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Utbildningsradio (UR) did not show any footage of the scuffle in its 2019 film, "EU och Demokratin" ("The EU and Democracy," translation by Google Translate).

UR's piece features interviews with political observers, including Gulyás, who claim that Hungary has failed to uphold democratic norms. At the 9:24-9:29 and 9:51-9:56 timestamps, the footage from hvg.hu's 2014 video was used, but with all fight scenes removed.

Additionally, there is no evidence to support the claim that Gulyás "sold" the clip to UR in an attempt to portray himself as a "freedom fighter." Lead Stories has contacted both Gulyás and UR for their comment and will update this story upon receiving their responses.

On September 12, 2023, "EU och Demokratin" garnered attention in Hungary as the pro-government news outlet Mandiner highlighted it as an example of Sweden's purported anti-Hungarian bias. Just two days later, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó sent a strongly worded letter to his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström, saying UR's criticism of Hungary's democracy was undermining Sweden's bid for NATO accession:

UR [is] spreading serious accusations and false information to students in Swedish schools, suggesting that democracy has started to decline in recent years in Hungary ... You urge our members of Parliament to ratify your NATO accession, while you continue to accuse them of destroying Hungarian democracy ... This contradiction has now become even sharper and does nothing to further your demands.

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