NMHH Media Council: HUF 500 million worth of grants available for the production of local and regional television programmes

Published: 14 March 2019

The Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) announced its 2019 tender for a total of HUF 500 million for the production of regular local and regional television news programmes and magazine programmes on current affairs and cultural topics. At this week’s meeting, the Media Council also decided on the bids received on the last round of last year’s tender announcement, on the sponsorship of six new historical documentaries, and the renewed licensing of radio stations Rádió Dabas and Part FM of Lake Balaton. Having violated the obligation of balanced coverage, the Media Council ordered TV2 to make public the disregarded perspective, and also imposed a fine on the operator of Dunakanyar FM for failing to report changes.

Applications for local and regional television productions are open again this year

The Media Council also announced for this year the tender of the Hungarian Media Patronage Programme for the production of regular television news programmes and magazine programmes on current affairs and cultural topics for local and regional television stations. Applications are accepted in four separate rounds for this year’s tender with a total allocation of HUF 500 million; 11 April is the application deadline for the first round. The maximum funding per programme is HUF 60 thousand for public infotainment programmes and HUF 40 thousand in the case of news and cultural infotainment programmes, which still cannot exceed two-thirds of the estimated total cost.

The Media Council also decided on the fourth round of the same tender, and a total of HUF 109.4 million in grants were awarded to twenty-three television stations. Seven media service providers can produce news programmes: Győr+ Televízió, Somogy TV, Bajai Televízió, D+ TV of Dunaújváros, Fehérvár Televízió, Keszthelyi Televízió and Kanizsa TV. The following stations submitted successful tenders in the public infotainment category: Eleven Televízió of Bükkábrány, Csongrád TV, TiszapART Televízió of Szeged, Pomáz Televízió, Csele TV of Mohács, Putnoki Városi Televízió as well as CITY TV and XV TV of Budapest. The following stations are permitted to use the awarded sum for the production of cultural programmes: Kecskeméti Televízió, Mezőtúri Városi Televízió, Makói Városi TV, Veszprém TV, the Szekszárd-based Tolnatáj Televízió, Szentes Televízió, Miskolc Televízió and Hegyvidék Televízió of Budapest.

As part of the István Nemeskürty tender, the Media Council awarded a total of HUF 143.3 million in grants to six filmmakers for the production of historical documentaries. In Vörös Gróf, Károlyi Mihály bűnei (The Sins of Mihály Károlyi, the Red Count), director László Kriskó will analyse the personality and the historical impacts of the deeds of the late Hungarian Prime Minister. In A halál népbiztosa (The Commissar of Death), Gergely Huth will paint a portrait of Tibor Szamuely to tell the story of terror and the 133 day reign of the Hungarian Soviet Republic. In A mi emberünk (Our Man), Róbert Ízing will portray the methods of the communist state security agencies, the effects of the recruitments on human relations, and the specific mental process. The work of Ágnes Maksay entitled Lángolj és világíts! (Blaze and Illuminate!) will present the past and present of the prestigious Cistercian secondary school located in Irving, near Dallas, Texas, and founded by Hungarians fleeing from communism. László Kálomista’s film entitled A szovjet csapatok kivonulása Magyarországról (The Withdrawal of Soviet Troops from Hungary) recalls the historical events up until the summer of 1991. Gábor Koltay’s Hétköznapi Trianon (Everyday Trianon) will analyse one of the most important events in 20th-century Hungarian history as well as its effects and lessons.

Decisions concerning radio frequencies

After the substantive review, the Media Council declared the procedure for the commercial utilisation of the Dabas 93.4 MHz local radio frequency successful. The current operator being the sole bidder, Dabas Sportcsarnok Nonprofit Kft. plans to continue to operate the media service under the same name, i.e. Rádió Dabas. At the request of the media service provider, the Media Council renewed the operating licence of Part FM, a local commercial radio station broadcasting on the Siófok 92.6 MHz and the Fonyód 101.3 MHz frequencies, for another five years until June 2024.

In the formal review phase of the bids submitted for the tender announced for the community use of the local radio frequency of Törökbálint 97.6 MHz, the Media Council called on FM 4 Rádió Kft. to submit the missing documents, and rejected the registration of the bid by Media Group Production Kft. on grounds of formal invalidity. In the formal review phase of the Győr 96.4 MHz regional and commercial radio tender procedure, the Media Council called upon all three bidders – GYŐR+MÉDIA Zrt., Zene Rádió Kft. and FEHÉRVÁR RÁDIÓ Kft. – to submit the missing documents.

The Media Council also approved the draft invitations to tender for the community use of three radio frequencies and published them on its website: Tardos 95.5 MHz with a local area coverage, which is planned to be re-announced after a procedure previously declared unsuccessful by the Media Council, Balatonfüred 96.2 MHz, which is an unused local frequency, and Győr 88.1 MHz, another unused frequency with local coverage.

The Media Council has given its consent to the application of LB Rádió Kft. supported by a trademark licence; consequently, the permanent name ‘City Rádió’ in the public contract of the operator holding commercial media service provision rights for the Zalaegerszeg 88.9 MHz frequency may be changed to ‘88.9 – BestFM’ as of 13 March 2019.

TV2 broadcast an unbalanced news programme

After reviewing the petition submitted by the relevant political organisation, the Media Council concluded that the operator of TV2 violated the obligation of balanced coverage in the 9 February broadcast of the programme Tények, when the news report ‘Nem mondtak le, milliókat kaptak’ (They did not resign and were awarded millions) failed to present the divergent opinion of the relevant MPs of Jobbik Magyarországért Mozgalom. The Media Council ordered the media service provider to publish the decision of the Media Council or the announcement phrased in the decision within five days, or to provide the applicant with the opportunity to present its position within fifteen days. The Media Council may only conduct a procedure regarding balanced coverage upon request and may not initiate an investigation ex officio.

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 30,000 on the operator of Dunakanyar FM 94.1, a local radio station in Vác, after the media service provider repeatedly failed to comply with the public contract and report several changes in its name and ownership structure.

When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the fine with due consideration to all circumstances of the specific case, including all other violations in the same subject previously committed by the operator, along with the audience ratios of the endangered age group, and employs the principle of progressiveness and proportionality.

The full agenda of the Media Council’s weekly sessions can be found on the Board’s website, along with the minutes of the meetings and all decisions taken; the latest decisions will be published after the necessary validation and administration period.