Bankruptcy of Neo FM

On June 18, FM1 Zrt, the company that operates Neo FM, filed for bankruptcy protection. Two days later, the Media Council, exercising its right under the Media Act, canceled the station’s media service contract. Most of the media provider’s current debt of HUF 800 million comes from unpaid media service fees owed to the Media […]

Misappropriation. Fee reduction of the National Radio carefully walked around the economic environment of the national commercial radio stations. One of them is alive and well, the other one only exists by the mercy of the Media Council. The majority owner of one of them is Zsolt Nyerges, the other one was supported by the Socialists, while they had capacity for […]

Beware of the Hand that Feeds

“You are not going to bite the hand that feeds you” — this is the quotation that, by way of a motto,  introduces a 2008 report by the Open Society Institute on the forms of soft censorship in Latin America. I was reminded of this very instructive report as I was reading an article in […]

TV2 and RTL Klub: Higher Connections

The public at large, and even many in the profession, remain in the dark as to why July 9th, 2012, could become a milestone date in the history of Hungarian television. RTL Klub and TV2, the two nationwide commercial stations that started out in 1997, were originally licensed for terrestrial analog broadcasting for ten years. […]

The transformation of the radio market in Budapest

The Media Council’s transformation of the system of radio frequency tendering is in itself understandable as an administrative reform, yet of all the decisions made by the Media Council to date none has made waves as big as this one has. The story has in effect vested Klubradio as an admittedly dissenting voice with symbolic […]

Summary of the Case of Klub Radio

The tendering practices of the Media Council lend powerful support to the two salient principles of the Fidesz Party’s media policy: that the masses should not be able to access information on public affairs unless it is funneled from controlled sources (note that the readers of the political dailies and even online public-affairs consumers do […]

Secrets and Lies: The Contracts of National Media Providers

The Media Council and media providers winning a bid enter into a so-called official administrative contract which provides for a significant part of the terms and conditions under which the provider will operate. The contract reveals how much the provider is to pay the media authority, sets forth commitments regarding programming structure and content, stipulates […]

The Responsibility of Public Service

The new media regulations have transformed the legal framework of public program provision in all important aspects, including organization, financing, and supervision. One of the cardinal flaws of the new law is its omission to expressly provide for a public service mandate. Apart from a handful of declarations, the Code of Public Service, finalized in […]