The Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) supports Kristóf Deák’s television film idea

Published: 2 August 2017

At its session on 25th of July, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) decided to award HUF 600 million for the production of television films and HUF 75.6 million for the production of radio news and infotainment programmes under the Hungarian Media Patronage programme. It issued official administrative resolutions in the matters of intertwinement, granted a request for fair and balanced presentation in relation to certain news materials and sanctioned a radio station due to the statements of presenters which incited hatred and violated human dignity. According to the Council’s decision, Forrás Radio may broadcast on Esztergom 98.1 MHz and it also finalised invitations to tender for frequencies in Budapest and Szolnok.

Patronage subsidies: HUF 600 million for the production of five television films.

The Media Council awarded a total of HUF 600 million to five films as part of the Fehér György tender. After winning an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film with his film Mindenki (Sing), Kristóf Deák received support for his absurd, satirical black comedy entitled Foglyok (Prisoners), which relates the story of a family from 1951: the family is taken captive by state protection authority officers in their own flat, who are locked up with relatives and friends visiting the flat. Péter Bergendy’s 1956 historical thriller Trezor (Vault) is based on actual events with a script written by Norbert Köbli: the keys to the Ministry of Interior are lost in the chaos of the revolution and the ministry staff rely on the skills of a former bank robber to open the safe in the building. László Vitézy’s film A színésznő (The Actress) also harks back to the communist era: the Ministry of Interior singles out a nationally known actress in the sixties for entertaining the leaders of friendly countries, yet in the meantime, the actress of Transylvanian descent falls in love with a banned Olympic champion fencer. Róbert Pajer’s film A merénylet (The Assassination) focuses on the story of Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi, and her murderer, Italian anarchist Luigi Luccheni up to their tragic encounter in Geneva. Barnabás Tóth will also be shooting a film entitled Akik maradtak (The Remainder) based on Zsuzsa F. Várkonyi’s book, Férfiidők lányregénye (A girl's novel of men's times), which deals with the way two people, an adolescent girl and a forty-something man, establish a relationship after losing their families.

The Media Council will support a total of twenty-eight radio programmes with HUF 75.6 million. The council will award financial support for the production costs of regular radio programmes in the second round of tenders in the Hungarian Media Patronage Programme. Thanks to the decision, the Council is contributing to the production of the news programmes of Amadeus Radio of Szolnok, Táska Radio of Székesfehérvár, Gong Radio of Bács-Kiskun Country, Csaba Radio of Békéscsaba, Radio Som of Fehérgyarmat, Európa Radio of Nyíregyháza, Credo Radio of Szombathely, FM90 Campus Radio of Debrecen, Radio Smile of Kiskunfélegyháza, 90.9 Jazzy Radio of Budapest and in the reception area of Székesfehérvár for the Hungarian Catholic Radio. Financial assistance for the production of public interest infotainment programmes was awarded to Lakihegy Radio of Szigetszentmiklós, Radio FM7 of Gyöngyös, Európa Radio of Miskolc and Debrecen, Radio M of Miskolc, Rábaköz Radio FM 94.5, Radio Dabas, Radio Sun of Gyomaendrőd, 90.6 Radio 1 of Pécs, Radio451 of Szentes, 99.4 Sunshine FM of Nyíregyháza as well as the Budapest radio stations of Klasszik Radio 92.1, Mária Radio and Civil Radio. In the category of thematic infotainment programmes, Radio 24 of Dunaújváros, Vörösmarty Radio of Székesfehérvár and Info Radio of Budapest received support.

Media supervision rulings: TV2 provided unbalanced coverage

The Media Act allows for the concerned parties of planned transactions to ask for the Media Council’s opinion prior to the fusion in question on whether the planned intertwinement violates the right to the diversity of information. The Media Council examined the request of AVALUE Befektetési Kft. for a preliminary official administrative opinion in relation to its intertwinement with Lapcom Kiadó Zrt., which it approved. Insofar as the definitive circumstances remain unchanged, the Media Council’s opinion will have a binding nature not just for the parties involved in the intertwinement, but also for the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) and the Media Council. The actual authorisation of the intertwinement falls under the competence of the GVH while observing the official administrative opinion of the authority.

The Council granted a request for fair and balanced reporting, according to which the segment entitled Today is the day of national unity, aired as part of the 4 June edition of the news programme Tények (Facts) of TV2 and presenting the opinion of the governing parties, failed to include the lacking, relevant, opposing and accessible position of Jobbik and thus failed to fulfil the demand for fair and balanced information stated by law. The Media Council called on the media service provider to publish the ruling of the Media Council or its relevant opinion simultaneously to the offending news report or to provide an opportunity for presenting the standpoint of the Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom (Movement for a Better Hungary). In issues of a fair and balanced presentation, pursuant to the law, the Media Council may only act upon request, examining the facts of the individual case.

According to the ruling of the Media Council, the Paláver (Dispute) programme aired by Karc FM on 25 April – and repeated the following day – was suitable for inciting hatred against civil activists and violating human dignity. As a result of the administrative investigation launched after a report of a citizen, the radio was forced to pay a total of HUF 400 thousand, publish a statement and remove the media content in question from its website.

The small regional Code FM 88.7 radio of Miskolc was fined for HUF 150 thousand after a random testing of a radio’s weekly broadcast of April revealed less spoken public service content related to local current events and news programmes than agreed upon in its contract and stipulated by law. The Council obligates Info Radio to pay HUF 70 thousand because, based on a weekly broadcast from May, it aired fewer programmes dealing with local current events and news and aired more repeated shows than agreed upon in its contract.

The Council levied a fine of HUF 135,600 on the media service provider of hatoscsatorna for airing surreptitious advertising for a floor tiling company on 452 occasions during its Romeo Caffe programmes in April and May.

In the proceedings against 41 local and regional media service providers for the failure to fulfil their yearly reporting duties on time, the Council issued 24 reminders and, in 17 cases, levied fines between HUF 25 and 62.5 thousand. Again, the Media Council determined the measure of the legal consequences in accordance with the principles of progressiveness and proportionality.

Radio tenders: Forrás Radio’s tender won in Esztergom.

According to the Media Council’s ruling, after submitting the only tender with valid content for the local commercial frequency tender, Turul Média Kft. may broadcast shows as Forrás Radio on Esztergom 98.1 MHz. The Council finalised the initiations to tender for the Budapest 98.6 MHz and Szolnok 90.4 MHz local frequencies. The former has been available through the Media Council website since the 28th of July and tenders may be submitted to the authority on 6 September, whilst the latter can be reviewed from 31th of July with tenders submitted on 28 September.