The Media Council imposed a fine on the grounds of incorrect age rating

Published: 7 February 2019

Among its media supervisory decisions, at this week’s meeting the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) imposed a fine of HUF 2 million on the operator of TV2 because the television station broadcast the action comedy “Spy” and its trailers in the wrong time slot and used a more permissive age rating than justified. In the tender for the local radio frequencies of Baja 88.7 MHz and Solt 94.1 MHz, the Media Council announced the only bidder, Gong Rádió Kft., as the winner in both proceedings, and performed the formal examination in the tender procedure for five local frequencies.

Media supervisory decisions

Based on a citizen's report, the Media Council initiated proceedings against the media service provider of TV2 because of the age rating of the film Spy aired at 6:55 pm on 27 October last year. Due to its vulgar, obscene language, the film should have only been aired in the time slot between 9 pm and 5 am, and instead of the category “not recommended for children under the age of 12”, it would have required a rating “not recommended for audiences under the age of 16”. The action comedy's trailer was aired twenty-three times during the day, which qualifies as infringement of the law, since according to the Media Act, they could only have been aired in the same time slot as the film. For these reasons, the Media Council imposed a total fine of HUF 2,040,000 on the media service provider.

In contrast with feature films, the age rating of television and radio programmes is not carried out by the Media Council but by the television channels and radio stations based on the parameters determined by the Media Act. However, the Media Council may later check such ratings ex officio or based on citizens' reports. When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the fine with due consideration to all the circumstances of the specific case, including all similar infringements previously committed by the operator as well as the viewing and listening statistics of the endangered age group, and employs the principle of progressiveness and proportionality.

The Media Council conducted an investigation based on a citizen’s report, but due to a lack of competence it did not initiate proceedings for the unaired video presented in the article of, produced by the M1 channel with Zoltán Lomnici Jr. on 14 January. Pursuant to the Media Act, the competence of the Media Council does not extend to the control of the programme production process, i.e. it may not investigate the circumstances in which the content was created. The Media Council may only investigate media content already aired or published in the press in terms of compliance with the rules of media governance.

Radio decisions

In the tender for the local radio frequencies of Baja 88.7 MHz and Solt 94.1 MHz, the Media Council announced the only bidder, Gong Rádió Kft., as the winner in both proceedings. The media service provider plans to broadcast its programme on a commercial basis under the name Gong Rádió.

At the request of the media service provider, the Media Council renewed the local radio media service licence for the Székesfehérvár 94.5 MHz frequency for another five years, therefore 94.5 Rádió 1 may continue to broadcast on this frequency until 17 May 2024.

The Media Council completed the formal examination of the bids submitted for the local radio frequency tenders for the Budaörs 104.8 MHz, Székesfehérvár 106.6 MHz, Tatabánya 107.0 MHz, Tardos 95.5 MHz and Zalaegerszeg 88.3 MHz frequencies. Tardosi Vörösmárvány Alapítvány, the sole bidder in the tender for the Tardos frequency, has submitted a bid deemed formally invalid. For the rest of the tenders, NMHH requested the submission of missing documents: in the Székesfehérvár and Tatabánya proceedings from the sole bidder Karc FM Média Kft., in the Zalaegerszeg tender from the sole bidder Lánchíd Rádió Kft., and in the Budaörs tender—in which one of the bids was formally invalid—from Hunicom Stúdió Kft. and Buda Környéki Médiaszolgáltató Kft.

At the joint request of LB Rádió Kft. and Radio Plus Kft., the Media Council authorised that Keszthely 99.4 MHz, as a networked media service, broadcast its own programme on 99.4 Rádió 1 of Keszthely for 4 hours and 40 minutes instead of the current 4 hours and 23 minutes. The media service providers argued that Radio Plus Kft. wished to standardise its programme structure, including transmission time, with all its networked partners.

Film festival grants

The Media Council has awarded a grant totalling HUF 2 million for the 22nd Ferenc Faludi International Film Festival and Photo Competition. The event will take place from 13 to 16 November. Along with the grant, the Media Council offers cash awards for the winners of six film categories, including the best short film, documentary and experimental or animated film categories.