Letter of Hungarian NGOs on Media Legislation to Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe

Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland         Secretary General Council of Europe   4 February 2013, Budapest   Esteemed Council of Europe, Dear Secretary General,   Hungarian NGOs for protection of human rights, freedom of speech and freedom of press express their concern about the prospects of the Hungarian media regulation. The agreement between the Council of Europe and […]

The big publicity shake-up

The total overhaul of media regulations has served as a sort of dress rehearsal for the power techniques of the Fidesz-KDNP government. The process has involved the complete removal of checks and balances from the institutional system, along with the cementing of trusted party cadres in place. More importantly, it has also entailed the domestication […]

What makes news? — The prospects of being informed

“RTL 2 is airing real news!” — exclaimed a Standards staff member, providing a vivid illustration of the state of public affairs reporting in Hungary today. News on television is either irrelevant to public affairs or, when it is not, it is little more than sheer government propaganda. If a commercial station wants to buck […]

Selective publicity

“The content presented on the awarded frequency may contain traces of the original commitments.” — (anonymous document inspector)   Studying recent decisions of the media authority, I became curious to find out what motivates the Media Council in shaping the radio market. As a starting point, I looked at the information posted on the authority’s […]

A map of community media

In its resource guide entitled What is community radio?, the AMARC (World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters) defines community radio as “having three aspects: non-profit making, community ownership and control, community participation.” Writing in May about the contradictions of the tender announced for small community radio stations, we promised to devote a future blog entry […]

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 […]

Public affairs in the media – Impact of the media policy

The research project aims at bringing empirical methods to examine how a variety of media outlets with the largest audiences have presented public affairs content in two specific periods during the second Gyurcsány cabinet and the second Orbán cabinet. To accomplish this goal, we have chosen to follow the guidance of Mertek Media Monitor in […]

Selling Népszabadság

With a daily circulation of 62,000 and a daily readership of 220,000 (2011 Q4 data), Népszabadság is Hungary’s largest daily devoted to politics and public affairs. Népszabadság Zrt., the publisher, is a company in which Ringier is the majority owner and the Free Press Foundation, controlled by the Hungarian Socialist Party, has a 27 percent […]

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 […]