Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Viktor Orban Signing Privatization Agreement


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: Photo Does NOT Show Viktor Orban Signing Privatization Agreement Bush Meeting

Does the attached photo show Viktor Orban signing a privatization agreement in 1989 in a villa in Rozsadomb, Budapest? No, that's not true: The photo was taken during the meeting of President George H.W. Bush and the Hungarian opposition parties in 1989.

The claim and the photo appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on March 25, 2024, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories staff):

Fresh information! I received a picture, this picture was taken in 1989 in a villa in Rózsadomb. Viktor Orbán is sitting there and he signs that after 1990 the entire manufacturing industry, movable and immovable assets of Hungary will be transferred. So, after the regime change, the first law will be the privatization law.

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

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Mar 26 17:39:43 2024 UTC)

The photo, taken in Budapest on July 12, 1989, is part of the archive (archived here) of MTI, Hungary's public news agency. It shows George H.W. Bush, president of the United States, with representatives of the new Hungarian political parties. Bush sits in the middle, Viktor Orban is the third from the right in a white suit. The photo was taken in the U.S. Embassy Residence in Zugliget, Budapest.

A news report (archived here) of the press conference after the meeting is still available in the National Audiovisual Archive. No one mentions privatization agreements. Orban told the press that they assured Bush that if the opposition parties won the free elections, their foreign policy would be more open, and American-Hungarian relations would work better.

Bush was the first American president to visit (archived here) Hungary during his presidency. He spent two days with his wife Barbara and cabinet members in Hungary in July 1989, in the middle of the Hungarian regime change process and just before the first free elections after nearly 50 years of the Communist regime in March 1990.

The photo is almost 35 years old, and there is no particular reason for its resurfacing other than Orban's current position as prime minister of Hungary. According to the burnt-in TikTok tag, the video was originally posted by the @az.igazi.keszthel account, which is no longer available on the platform. The account previously spread misinformation claims about Orban and his family that were previously debunked by Lead Stories.


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