Media Council: incorrect age-rating for one of the Balázsék shows

Published: 28 November 2018

At its latest meeting, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) imposed a fine of HUF 500 thousand on the operator of Rádió 1 of Budapest for incorrect age-rating in a procedure launched on the basis of a citizen report. The Media Council published the draft call for tender for the Dunaújváros 99.1 MHz radio frequency, conducted the formal examination of the bids submitted for the South Budapest 90.9 MHz tender, and granted the request for a 60-day postponement of the start of broadcasting by the radio stations at Pécs 101.7 MHz and Velence Meleg-hegy 90.4 MHz.

Media supervisory fines for incorrect age-rating

On the basis of a citizen report, the panel investigated Radio 1’s Balázsék programme aired in the morning hours of 9 July and 21 August. The programme discussed a deviant topic – establishing sexual relationships with animals – and its physical feasibility, which, in the absence of proper life experience, could be misunderstood by members of the 12–16 age group, and therefore should have been rated as suitable only for 16 years and over instead of suitable for 12 years and over, and should have been aired only in the time slot between 9 pm and 5 am. Due to the incorrect rating, the Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 500 thousand on the radio operator. The infringement is also particularly serious because the influence of widely available programmes is remarkably strong, and adolescents tend to take the models offered by the media without criticism. Because of the easy-going and humorous style of the show, the criticised content could be misunderstood by schoolchildren.

Radio and television stations, with certain exceptions, are required to classify their programmes in one of the age categories defined by the Media Act, which can be checked ex officio by the Media Council within the context of its own ex post media surveillance activities or based on citizen reports. When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the penalties with due consideration to all the circumstances of the specific case and employing the principle of proportionality and progressiveness.

Further radio-related decisions

The Media Council published on its website a draft call for tender for the community use of the Dunaújváros 99.1 MHz radio frequency, the public hearing of which is expected to be held by the authority on 19 December.

As part of the formal examination of the bids submitted for the regional radio tender for the South Budapest 90.9 MHz radio frequency, the Media Council called on the sole bidder, Magyar Jazz Rádió Kft., to submit missing documents.

The Media Council agreed that P1 Rádió Kft. and B&T Szolgáltató Kft. postpone the start of their media service provision activities by 60 days, with the new final deadline being 28 January 2019, at the Pécs 101.7 MHz regional frequency and the Velence Meleg-hegy 90.4 MHz local frequency.

Rock FM in the Budapest coverage area aired fewer public service broadcasts than required by law; therefore, the Media Council called upon the radio station’s operator to comply with the legal requirements and refrain from violations in the future.