The new Media Council members elected by Parliament on 10 December – László Budai, Ágnes Hankiss, László Meszleny and Károly Szadai – held their first session on 18 December, under the guidance of President Monika Karas. At the meeting, the board announced the winners of the third round of the Media Council’s patronage programme tender for supporting the production of regular news, cultural and public infotainment programmes intended for local and regional television stations. According to the decision, twenty-six television stations have received grants amounting to HUF 125.6 million. Grants for the production of public infotainment programmes were provided to Baranya Televízió of Komló, ESTV, TV10 and Centrum TV of Budapest, Városi Televízió of Hajdúszoboszló, Irány Televízió of Miskolc, Soltvadkerti TV, Komló és Térsége TV, as well as Régió Plusz Televízió of Gödöllő. Zalaegerszegi Televízió, Veszprém TV, Kecskeméti Televízió, Hegyvidék Televízió of Budapest, Kecskeméti Televízió, Városi Televízió of Szeged, Szolnok Televízió, Pannon TV of Pécs and TV Budakalász submitted successful tenders for grants to produce news programmes. The winners of the cultural infotainment programme category include Városi Televízió Eger, Gyula Televízió, Városi Televízió of Ózd, Salgótarjáni Városi Televízió, Szombathelyi Televízió, Kapos Televízió, Gyöngyösi Városi Televízió, TV Szentendre and Apostol TV of Budapest.
The Media Council announced ten applicants as recipients in the third round of this year’s technical tender for community media service providers. Winners will receive grants amounting to HUF 20.9 million to purchase studio, sound and lighting equipment, broadcast signal transmission devices and IT equipment for providing media services. Funding for the development of technical equipment was provided to the television stations Apostol TV and d1 TV of Budapest, Szentendre TV, Tatai Televízió, Trió-TV-Dunántúl of Sárvár and Kistelek Városi Televízió and to the community radio stations Mária Rádió Bakony of Veszprém, Klasszik Rádió 92.1 and 90.9 Jazzy Rádió of Budapest, as well as Csillagpont Rádió of Miskolc.
Decisions concerning radio frequencies
The Media Council has finalised and will publish on its website the invitation to tender for the community use of the local Törökszentmiklós 96.4 MHz radio frequency on Thursday, followed by the invitation to tender for the regional Miskolc 103.8 MHz radio frequency on Friday. Bids may be submitted on 20 and 29 January, respectively. The board approved the draft call for tenders for the community use of the Kecskemét 97.7 MHz regional and Székesfehérvár 99.2 MHz local radio frequencies. The draft for the Kecskemét frequency will be available from Thursday, while the draft for the Székesfehérvár frequency will be available from Friday on the NMHH website.
In the tendering procedure for the community use of the Szombathely 97.1 MHz and Kaposvár 97.5 MHz local and the Pécs 94.6 MHz regional radio frequencies as well as that for the commercial use of the Békés 94.4 MHz local radio frequency, the board has completed the formal examination of the bids. The Media Council has registered Lánchíd Rádió Kft. in the bid for the Szombathely frequency, as well as both bidders, Karc FM Média Kft. and FM 4 Rádió Kft., in the Kaposvár and Pécs tendering procedure, while calling on both bidders in the Békés tendering procedure, GloboSys Hungary Kft. and ProjektPro Bt., to remedy deficiencies.
The board authorised FM 4 Rádió Kft. to launch its media service known as Mária Rádió on the regional Göd 97.3 MHz and the Törökbálint 97.6 MHz local frequency with a one-month delay, by 3 February at the latest.
Pursuant to its request, the Media Council authorised Magyar Katolikus Rádió Alapítvány to expand the coverage area of its media service provision rights in Miskolc instead of connecting into a network with the services of the media service provider in Sátoraljaújhely, Encs, Gyöngyös, Eger and Hatvan, and also authorised the entitlement generated in this fashion to be connected into a network with Hegyalja Média Kft.’s radio in Tokaj. Additionally, the Media Council authorised the service provider to use the designation of Szent István Rádió.
At the service provider’s request, the Media Council authorised Katolikus Rádió Zrt.’s public contract to include the online availability of its media service.
Pursuant to the Media Act, the board rejected the request of Európa Rádió Nonprofit Közhasznú Kft. to extend its regional community radio media service provision rights in Miskolc and Mezőkövesd that are set to expire in April of the following year, due to the service provider’s repeated infringements.
Fines ensuing from the breaches of contractual commitments
Following the examination of a programming week in October, the Media Council imposed a fine of HUF forty thousand on the service provider of Európa Rádió for deviating from its designation, broadcasting fewer programmes dealing with local public life and assisting local day-to-day life and more reruns than stipulated in its public contract.
Following the examination of a programming week in September, the authority imposed a fine of HUF twenty thousand on the service provider of Karcag FM for broadcasting for 24 hours instead of 16 hours a day as stipulated in its public contract and for airing less spoken word content, Hungarian music and fewer programmes dealing with local public life and assisting local day-to-day life, fewer minority and public service broadcasts than stated in its public contract.
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 progressiveness and proportionality.
The full agenda of the Media Council’s weekly sessions can be found on the Board’s website, along with the minutes of the meetings and all decisions taken; the latest decisions will be published after the necessary validation and administration period.