NMHH Media Council: HUF 110 million worth of grants for documentary films

Published: 16 November 2017

In subjects ranging from the Székely Atlantis, the fate of Malév pilots and the motifs of Pilinszky’s poetry, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) has provided grants in the total value of HUF 110.3 million for the production of sixteen documentaries through the Ember Judit tender. The board accepted next year’s supervisory plan, announced Crossborder Kft., the sole bidder, as the winner of the tender announced for the use of the Dunaújváros 93.1 MHz frequency and approved the conjunction request of the three coverage areas of Mária Rádió Frekvencia Zrt.

Sixteen new documentaries to be produced

The Medic Council supported the production of sixteen documentary films by grants in the value of HUF 110 million through the Hungarian Media Patronage program, in the second round of this year’s Ember Judit tender. The documentary entitled Bözödújfalu—the Székely Atlantis will show how a village in Transylvania flooded with water comes back to life when an artificial lake is drained. A film is being made on prison chaplain Lajos Butsy who endeavors to help the lives of inmates and their reintegration after the prison years. A film is being made on the successful community-building work of another pastor, Márta Bolba, in the 8th district of Budapest. The everyday life of Hungarians living in Venezuela is receiving a treatment, which also deals with the dilemma of returning or staying abroad. Another work will seek out the secrets behind the outstanding figures of the Hungarian music scene originating from the city of Pécs. The film entitled Above the Line will deal with the struggle of a pair of brothers competing as swimmers for Olympic gold medals and their mother’s recognition. The fate of Romanian children put up for adoption en masse in the early nineties will be the subject of the film entitled Human Trafficking at the End of the Millennium. Biopics are being made on Zoltán Lugosi, who recruits players for footballs teams in the villages of Nógrád country; on Tcha Limberg from Belgium, who travelled the world with two bands playing Hungarian music; and on the hundred-year-old József Brassai, who introduces viewers to the world of opticians and ever-changing looks of Budapest. A documentary is being made on the fate of former Malév pilots—after the airline was shut down. The second part of the film entitled In a Net of Stars deals with the motifs of friendship and love in the poetry of János Piliniszky. Makers of the film Confessors of Fate and Faith seek out Middle-Eastern Christian communities, while another work shows how the Hungarians in Bratislava were deported to Ligetfalu after World War II, where executions were staged on a daily basis for years. A documentary is being made on the only remaining Budapest tenement synagogue and the fate of Jakab “Juci” Gláser, who struggled to protect it for decades. The stories of the Auguszt, Bergmann and Szamos confectioneries come to life in the film entitled Confectionery Dynasties.

Radio-related decisions

The board announced Crossborder Kft., the sole bidder, as the winner of the tender announced for the use of the Dunaújváros 93.1 MHz frequency. The service provider will broadcast its shows as a commercial radio, connected into a network with Radio Plus Kft., under the name of 93.1 Rádió 1.

The Council registered the bids of LB Rádió Kft. and Blue Hill Média Kft. in the tender procedure for the Tatabánya 96.7 MHz frequency, along with Veszprém Média Kft. and Turul Média Kft. in the procedure for the Székesfehérvár 101.8 MHz frequency. The Media Council decided on the continuation of the procedures last week, after the court dismissed the requests for review of Regionális Rádió Kft. which was previously excluded from both proceedings due to formal invalidity.

The Media Council approved the request of Mária Rádió Frekvencia Kft. to expand its Monor 106.3 MHz media service provision right with the Gyál 98.9 MHz and Dabas 97.5 MHz provision rights. The media service provider undertakes to uphold the ratio of public service programs stipulated in the original tender in the new coverage area.

Penalties due to the failure of data provision

The media service providers of thirty-five radio and television stations failed to partially or entirely fulfill their data provision obligations between 1 January and 31 March of this year. Media service providers obliged to uphold a certain ratio of programs must provide data on their schedules every month to the Media Council, based on which NMHH can verify whether the service provider adheres to the quotas. Nine service providers failed to provide any data at all over the five-month period, yet in multiple cases, some service providers were only lagging behind by two weeks. In three cases, the Council only issued warnings, whilst the greatest fine amounted to HUF 210 thousand. 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.

Supervisory plan

The board accepted next year’s market regulatory and general administrative supervisory plan. Apart from the monitoring of media service providers and social media platforms, next year will again see special attention devoted—amongst other things—to the volume of advertisements and ensuring that the maximum ratio of tabloid crime news on major news services would not exceed the statutory limit of twenty percent. Another field of review is the way in which media service providers uphold child protection media provisions during the weekend early morning period of television programming and the application of the age limit of ‘not recommended under six years of age’. The reason why the so-called child programming period in the early morning hours of weekends requires special attention is that the age group requiring protection watches television in this period with less parental supervision or perhaps none at all. The Media Council also plans to review the film classification—age-rating—practices of media service providers. The review of such measures is facilitated by a dedicated film database that has been in existence for years. The market regulatory plan will soon be published on the NMHH website.