NMHH Media Council: Risks Latent in “Éjjel-nappal Budapest”

Published: 10 May 2017

At its weekly meeting, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) adopted decisions (in a total value of HUF 153.3 million) regarding film proposals, applications for subsidies to be granted for the production of programs and utility costs for local and regional radios and television channels, subsidies for festivals and radio network connection applications. The Council also approved the study on Éjjel-nappal Budapest (Budapest Day and Night), a show aired by RTL Klub; the study has identified potential risks in the program in respect of the protected age group.

Program production and overhead cost subsidies to local television channels and radio stations

23 local, regional and small community radios were granted a total of HUF 74.5 million in subsidies within the framework of the Media Council’s Hungarian Media Sponsorship scheme in the first round of this year’s procedure for the financing of regularly broadcast programs. The Council, which has been granting subsidies for several years, thus facilitating the professional work of these studios and facilitating listeners’ access to information on local issues, granted HUF 63.6 million to eighteen commercial and community radios and HUF 10.9 million to small community radios, for the production of their regular programs.

Successful applicants in the news broadcast category included Info Radio, the Hungarian Catholic Radio, Radio Maria, Radio Kunság of Kiskőrös, 90.6 Radio 1 of Pécs, Radio M of Miskolc, Radio FM7 of Gyöngyös, Radio Sun of Gyomaendrőd and three stations all based in Nyíregyháza: Radio Mustard, Radio Retro and 99.4 Sunshine FM.

Regular radio programs comprising information and topical items receiving a grant included programs of Gong FM of Kecskemét, Radio Csillagpont of Miskolc, Radio Europe of Sátoraljaújhely, Radio Szentendre, Radio Trio of Jászberény, Radio Som of Fehérgyarmat, Radio Egerszeg and Radio Fehérvár, while the thematic magazines awarded a subsidy represented Radio Monoster of Szentgotthárd, FM90 Radio Campus of Debrecen, Radio Credo of Szombathelyi and Radio Tamási.

The Media Council awarded subsidies totaling HUF 66.9 million to 13 media service providers in the third round of this year’s operational cost subsidy scheme for media service providers. Television channel beneficiaries: Móra-Net Tv of Mórahalom, Television Szentgál, Television Zugló of Budapest, Television Promontor and City Tv, Ladány Television of Püspökladány, Esztergom District Television, Hajdúnánás Television and Kanizsa Tv; radio beneficiaries: Radio Szentendre, Radio Balaton of Siófok, Radio Maria and Trend FM of Budapest.

Film decisions

The Media Council awarded subsidies in a total of HUF 9.9 million to support eight applications in this year’s Lajos Egri scheme for sponsoring scriptwriting and film idea development for television and animated filmmaking under the Hungarian Media Sponsorship program.

The beneficiaries include Kincskereső (Treasure-Hunter), a script currently under preparation and based on the renowned children’s novel by Ferenc Móra, Kincskereső kisködmön (The Boy’s Treasury-Hunting Coat). The children’s television series Artúr az űrben (Arthur in Space) revolves around a boy in a wheelchair, who has lost his mother, and is secretly building a spaceship from waste materials in his garden. Currently under preparation, the script of Napfény óvoda (Sunshine Kindergarten) will tell the story of a naive, childlike kindergarten teacher; at the time of resigning from her job, she encounters the attempts at covering up the Chernobyl disaster locally. There are two planned biopics in the pipeline too: Részeg józanok (Drunken Sobers) is about actor Imre Soós, who died 60 years ago, and the world of artists in the 1950’s, while in the other book, with the working title Én vagyok Szent-Györgyi (I Am Szent-Györgyi), the scientific career, life and heroic wartime stance of Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi will be written for television by the winning applicants.

Three historic-themed applications were also granted funding in this round. Isten rabjai (Prisoners of God) is a script for two 50-minute episodes from Géza Gárdonyi’s eponymous novel, following the life of Saint Margaret from the perspective of young Jancsi, who nurtures platonic love for her. Apám, Vitéz László (My Father, László Vitéz) is the retelling of the life of an elderly former puppeteer of the Népliget park and his efforts to keep a family inheritance blighted by history alive. The work entitled Flóra will focus on the friendship and arguments between Gyula Illyés and Attila József, and will also show why Flóra influenced Attila József more than anyone else and how she then became the wife of Gyula Illyés to the grave.

The Council also decided on the total prize of HUF 2 million for documentary films, shorts, nature films and television films, the category winners of which will receive the prize at the ARRIEye Cameraman Festival (formerly Golden Eye Festival) held in Budapest between 20 and 23 June.

Study about Éjjel-nappal Budapest

The Media Council approved the analysis paper entitled “Éjjel-nappal Budapest percepciója a befogadók körében (közvélemény-kutatás), valamint a reality valóságábrázolása” (The Perception of “Budapest Day and Night” among Viewers and the Representation of Actual Reality in this Reality Show), and pronounced its publication on its website. This is series is aired by the channel RTL Klub; the thousandth episode was broadcast in April. The Media Council has decided that it was necessary to produce a comprehensive assessment of the show, highlighting its characteristics and potential anomalies. The Authority has already inspected the show several times and adopted condemning judgements of the show by reason of the objectionable presentation of drug use, sexuality and aggressiveness.

The study presents the disturbing features of “Éjjel-nappal Budapest” having used two approaches: (i) it investigated viewer opinions by polling to find out how the Hungarian society responded to the show and (ii) it analyzed how the show presented reality, prompting the disapproval of viewers on several occasions.

The poll, which was taken on a representative sample, revealed that the show is viewed mostly by women (67 percent) and is particularly popular among persons with primary education, who account for 73 percent of regular viewers. The overwhelming majority of the respondents do not consider the lifestyle shown in the program acceptable: 83 percent think that it should not serve as an example for today’s young people at all. Most viewers (90 percent) believe that the friendships and couples presented in the show display an excessive number of problems and conflicts. In general, the respondents believe that the behaviour of young people in the show in relation to their partners and lovers should not be an example for today’s young people to follow. 59 percent of those who regularly watch the series think that the producers laid excessive emphasis on showing sexuality in the program.

The survey and study highlighted a number of disturbing aspects and possible risks posed by the show in respect of the protected age group. The Media Council believes that society should be informed of certain concerns even when this is not required by legislation and goes beyond the minimum stipulated by law.

Radio decisions

The Media Council granted its consent to the media services currently operating under the names Radio Sopron, Radio Lake Tisza, Radio Focus (Salgótarján), Radio Debrecen FM95 and Radio Eger, and the commercial radios operating in Baranya county under the names Pécs 90.6 MHz, Villány 100.9 MHz, Komló 99.4 MHz and Mohács 93.8 MHz to connect to the network of Radio 1’s e Budapest broadcast program as of 15 May.

The Council also approved the draft text of the tenders for the local radio frequencies Telkibánya 100.6 MHz and Tokaj 101.8 MHz. The tender documentation will be available on the website of the NMHH Media Council from Thursday.