NMHH Media Council: HUF 77.7 million for the production of radio news, thematic and public-service magazine programmes

Published: 21 February 2019

Thanks to the tender of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority’s (NMHH) Media Council for the support of the production of news, thematic and public-service magazine programmes, twenty-five small community, commercial and community radios will receive grants in a total of HUF 77.7 million. At this week’s meeting, the board also passed decisions related to reports on reality shows and television magazine programmes and has contributed to the awards of six film festivals – with a total of over HUF 12 million.

Radio-related decisions

Through twenty-five successful tenders, small community, commercial and community radios will receive a total of HUF 77.7 million in the fourth, final round of the 2018 tender for the support of the production of news programmes as well as thematic and public-service magazine programmes under the Media Council’s Hungarian Media Patronage Programme. In the news programme category, successful tenders have been submitted by Gong Rádió of Kecskemét; Európa Rádió of Miskolc, Rádió1 of Debrecen, Kiskunfélegyháza and Salgótarján; Érd FM 101.3; Gyula and Sárvár Rádió, Rádió 7 of Hódmezővásárhely; FM7 Eger; Aktív Rádió 93.8 of Karcag; Friss FM of Kisvárda, Rádió 451 of Szentes; Rádió Sun of Gyomaendrőd and 99.4 Sunshine FM of Nyíregyháza. Karc FM in Budapest, Rádió1 of Komló and Sopron, Kunság Rádió in Kiskőrös, Best FM of Nyíregyháza, Bajai Rádió, Berettyó Rádió, Forrás Rádió of Tatabánya and Koronafm100 in Kalocsa received grants for the production of public-service magazine programmes. Rádió Smile of Kiskunfélegyháza received a grant for the production of thematic magazine programmes.

In the tendering procedures for the Tatabánya 107.0 MHz, Székesfehérvár 106.6 MHz and Dabas 93.4 MHz local radio frequencies, one bid has been received for each tender; subsequent to their formal review, the Media Council has registered Karc FM Média Kft. in the case of the first two tenders and Dabas Sportcsarnok Nonprofit Kft. in the case of the third tender. The procedures will continue with the content-based examination of the bids.

The council has authorized VLNC FM Rádió Kft. to launch its media service on the Székesfehérvár 101.8 MHz local frequency—with a two-month delay—on 28 April at the latest. The council has also authorized the similar request of Mambó Rádió Kft. on the media service license for the Kaposvár 99.9 MHz frequency on 2 June at the latest.

Media supervisory decisions

Based on a citizen’s report, the Media Council has reviewed the reality programme entitled Szerelem első látásra aired on 1 February on Life TV, which portrayed the blind date of two men, in a manner that was according to the report, “suitable to raise disturbance” and “propagating homosexuality”, without any age rating. The Media Council has established that in itself, the choice of subject of the programme published with a 12 year age rating did not justify including the programme in a higher age rating category; the various programmes must always be evaluated in their entirety and overall impact with due consideration of their treatment and the message they convey. As the programme featured no sexuality or other harmful content, neither in a visual, nor verbal form by presenting dating and the formation of relationships in a manner appropriate to the maturity of the 12- to 16-year-old age group, the Media Council will not initiate proceedings against the service provider.

The Authority received multiple reports on the programme entitled Ez itt a kérdés... aired on 16 January on the M5 channel as the programme on the “healing” homosexuals was found to have a discriminatory nature and was deemed suitable for inciting hatred. In relation to the case, the Media Council established that the board cannot examine the scientific integrity of the contents of the programme with legal means, only its treatment, possible effect or suggested message can result in infringements. According to the Authority’s assessment, although the programme aired views that are contrary to widely accepted opinions, it did not question the equal human dignity of homosexual people and used no degrading, mocking or pejorative terms in relation to them and showed no aggression or offensive attitudes towards individuals of a different sexual orientation and the programme didn’t call for the discrimination of the members of this group, therefore the Media Council will not initiate proceedings in the matter. The choice of subject itself—facilitating the voluntary will to change instead of unconditional acceptance—poses no infringement. Pursuant to the practice of the Constitutional Court, the freedom of thought cannot be denied based on the fact that it offends the sensitivity or views of others or because some consider it to be offensive, as the Fundamental Law upholds the freedom of thought regardless of their values or truthfulness.

Additionally, the Media Council will not initiate proceedings based on a citizen’s report on the January 22 edition of the Exatlon Hungary programme aired on TV2, in which two members of one of the teams heatedly called a third person to account for their attitude to the game. The Authority has established that the conflict was suitably offset by the presenter, the other teammates and the members of the opposing team: they all expressed their disapproval of the incident. The programme also had appropriate age ratings—not suitable under 12 years of age—and did not infringe on the right to human dignity.

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 10 thousand on the service provider of Rádió Törökszentmiklós, a fine of HUF 30 thousand on the service provider of Táska Rádió of Székesfehérvár, and a fine of HUF 100 thousand on the service provider of Mária Rádió of Cegléd as during a year-end programming week, they deviated from the commitments set forth in their public contracts and the relevant statutory obligations. All three radios aired fewer text, two radios fewer public-service programmes, programmes dealing with local community and facilitating local everyday life than necessary and one radio failed to broadcast any news programmes in the examined programming week despite their statutory obligations.

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 other violations in the same subject previously committed by the service provider as well as the audience ratios of the endangered age group, and employs the principle of progressiveness and proportionality.

Grants amounting to HUF 12.1 million for film festivals

The board has decided to support six domestic film festivals. The Council has offered HUF 500 thousand for the winners of three categories at the 7th Friss Hús Budapest International Short Film Festival, as well as awarding another half million HUF to the winner of the Best Short Fiction for Children category at the Cinemira International Children’s Film Festival taking place in April. The Media Council will also support the VI Savaria Film Festival of Szombathely in May, providing a total of HUF two million for the top three finalists of four categories. The Council will also award HUF 800 thousand to the makers of the best film at the V Festival of Cultural Films in Szatmárcseke, along with HUF three million for the winners of three categories of the official selection at the 16th Jameson CineFest Miskolc International Film Festival. The board will also contribute to three awards presented at the Alexandre Trauner ART/Film Festival of Szolnok in mid-October as well as the logo film competition aiming to spread awareness of the festival with a total of HUF 4.3 million.

The full agenda of the Media Council’s weekly sessions can be found on the board’s website, just as the minutes of the meetings and all decisions; the latest rulings will be published after the necessary certification and administration period.