The Media Council also decided on funding for the development of radio programmes and the technical development of community media service providers

Published: 7 September 2018

At this week’s meeting, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) awarded HUF 75 million for one year’s production of news, service and thematic magazine programmes of local, regional and small community radios, and over HUF 48 million for the technical developments to ensure continuous operation of community televisions and radios. One Paks and two Budapest radio frequencies will soon be open for tendering and a draft call for proposals for four regional radio media services is also available on the Authority’s website. In the case of the regional Szent István Rádió and Ipoly Televízió, the Council imposed significant fines because of broadcasting programmes other than in their regulatory contracts or statutory requirements.

The production of another twenty-eight radio news, service and thematic magazine programmes will receive one year’s funding

The Media Council awarded a total of HUF 75 million in the second round of this year’s tender announced for the production of regular radio programmes as part of the Hungarian Media Patronage programme to produce 28 news, service or thematic magazine programmes for 23 local, regional and small community radio stations. The radio stations to receive funding include Rádió M of Miskolc, FM7 Rádió of Gyöngyös, Lakihegy Rádió of Szigetszentmiklós, Gong Rádió based in Kecskemét, Rádió 88 of Szeged, Rádió Dabas, Rádió Som of Fehérgyarmat, Trió Rádió and Amadeus Rádió based in Budapest and Rádió 1 based in Budapest but with five regional frequencies in Szekszárd, Győr, Kiskunfélegyháza, Pécs and Békéscsaba. Among the community radios, the board supported FM90 Campus Rádió of Debrecen, Sola Rádió based in Érd, and the two bids for the Nyíregyháza and Miskolc frequencies of the Miskolc-based Európa Rádió, and one programme each of Karc FM of Budapest, Magyar Katolikus Rádió, Klasszik Rádió, Jazzy Rádió, InfoRádió and Civil Rádió. In this round, funding is provided for the programme production of small community radio stations Rádió Smile of Kiskunfélegyháza, MaxiRádio of Gyöngyös, Táska Rádió of Székesfehérvár and Rádió Sun of Gyomaendrőd.

Patronage funding for the technical development of 15 community media service providers

In the first round of the technical tender for community media service providers, a total of fifteen bidders were awarded at this week’s meeting of the Media Council. Winners will receive HUF 48.1 million in total to purchase studio, sound and lighting equipment, broadcast signal transmission devices and IT equipment needed to provide media services. The awarded television stations include D+ TV of Dunaújváros, TV Szentendre, City TV of Budapest, Szentes Televízió, RTV Szekszárd, Tatai Televízió, Körös Televízió based in Csabacsűd, the Budakeszi-based BKTV, Szentgál Televízió, Mezőtúri Városi Televízió, Rábaközi Televízió of Csorna, Kanizsa TV and Pannon TV of Pécs. Of the radios, the Budapest-based Magyar Katolikus Rádió and the Veszprém-based Mária Rádió Savaria can improve their technical infrastructure.

The size of the grant under the patronage programme changes

The financial resources of the Hungarian film subsidy system include direct and indirect state subsidies pursuant to Act II of 2004 on Motion Picture (Motion Picture Act). On the basis of the amendment to the Motion Picture Act that came into force at the beginning of August, the maximum, budget-based normative indirect funding provided by the National Film Office for productions in compliance with the statutory criteria has increased from 25% to 30%. Accordingly, in order to avoid over-financing, the Media Council has adjusted the maximum amount of funding it provides under the Hungarian Media Patronage programme in line with the 30% stipulated in the legislative amendment, to 70% instead of the earlier 75%. This change applies to proceedings already announced, currently in progress but not yet in the application phase, including the second rounds of the 2018 Judit Ember, Ágoston Kollányi, Gyula Macskássy and Zoltán Huszárik tenders.

One Paks and two Budapest radio frequencies can be submitted and four more can be commented

The Media Council has finalized and published on its website the tender announcements for utilization of the radio frequency of the local Paks 96.3 MHz frequency for commercial, the regional South Budapest 90.9 MHz frequency for community and the regional Budapest 99.5 MHz for commercial purposes. The bids for the Paks frequency can be submitted on 8 October, for the South Budapest frequency on 17 October and for the Budapest 99.5 MHz frequency on 18 October.

The Council has approved the radio media service frequency plan and the related draft tender announcements as well as the continued utilization for community purposes of four rural radio stations: Tardos 95.5 MHz currently unused and three others still being used by Lánchíd Rádió until the expiration of its 12-year media service licence in October:  Tatabánya 107.0 MHz, Zalaegerszeg 88.3 MHz and Székesfehérvár 106.6 MHz.  The draft tender announcements are already available on the Authority’s website, and public hearings are expected to take place at the end of September.

Media supervisory fine for a radio and television operator

The Authority has investigated rural programme providers within the context of a general supervisory proceeding and concluded that Szent István Rádió, operating in the coverage area of Eger, Gyöngyös, Hatvan, Miskolc, Encs and Sátoraljaújhely, significantly underperformed its obligations for news, local, public and lifestyle programmes and exceeded its commitment to repetitions during a programming week in May. Therefore, the Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 200,000 on its operator. During a programming week under investigation in June, Ipoly Televízió of Balassagyarmat aired fewer public service broadcasts compared to the percentage in the relevant decision of the Authority and as stipulated by law, and during the whole period of the teletext it published, it broadcasted the radio programme of another media service provider without its consent, which qualifies as unauthorized networking connection. Therefore, the Media Council imposed a total fine of HUF 70,000 on the television’s operator. 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.