The Media Council has approved the HUF four hundred million operating tender for community radio and television stations

Published: 15 November 2019

The four rounds of the tender adopted at this week’s session of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority provide grants amounting to a total of HUF four hundred million for next year’s operating and overhead costs of community media service providers. Additionally, the submissions of a total of nine television and eleven radio stations were announced as winning tenders in the invitation to tender for technical developments. The board also approved the networking of Mária Rádió Savaria of Szombathely and Mária Rádió of Budapest. The Media Council also imposed fines for the violation of sponsorship rules and for inappropriate age-ratings.

Patronage programme decisions

The board has approved the 2020 tender of the Media Council’s Patronage Programme with an allocation of HUF four hundred million, providing community operators with grants to cover operating and overhead costs in their continuous operations. Successful tenders allow community televisions to receive monthly grants of no more than HUF six hundred thousand, with HUF five hundred thousand for community radio stations and HUF four hundred thousand for small-community radios for a period of twelve months at the most. Applications are accepted until 12 December this year from operators with a net revenue of less than HUF one hundred million in 2018.

The Media Council declared twenty radio and television stations as recipients in the second round of this year’s technical tender for community media service providers of the Hungarian Media Patronage Programme. This week’s winners will receive grants amounting to almost HUF 43 million for the purchase of studio, sound and lighting equipment, broadcast signal transmission devices and IT equipment for providing media services. The television stations receiving grants include Városi Televízió of Mezőtúr, Zemplén TV, Völgyhíd TV of Biatorbágy, Pannon Televízió of Pécs, RTV Szekszárd, Városi Televízió of Füzesabony, Régió TV Esztergom, TV Budakalász and City TV of Budapest. The winning community radio stations included Európa Rádió of Miskolc and Debrecen, Radio Monošter of Szentgotthárd, Mária Rádió Zemplén of Telkibánya, Plusz Rádió of Győr, as well as Trend FM and Manna FM of Budapest, whilst the small-community radios Alpha Rádió of Székesfehérvár, Balaton Rádió of Siófok, Rádió Szentendre and Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió can improve their technical infrastructure with grants.

Radio tender and media supervisory-related decisions

The Media Council has requested the Office of the NMHH to develop the Székesfehérvár 99.2 MHz frequency plan in preparation for the related radio tender procedure. The antecedents of this decision is that the Council did not renew the license of Vörösmarty Rádió – on statutory grounds for exclusion – which currently operates on this frequency, similar to the case of Civil Rádió and – as Vörösmarty Rádió did not challenge the decision by requesting legal remedies – the Media Council’s decision has become legally definitive. At the request of the operators, the Media Council has authorised Mária Rádió Savaria operating on the Szombathely 88.4 MHz frequency to be networked with Mária Rádio broadcasting on the Budapest 88.8 MHz, Göd 97.3 MHz and Törökbálint 97.6 MHz frequencies.

The board imposed a fine of HUF one hundred thousand on the operator of RTL Klub for one of the broadcasts of the programme Reggeli in August: they provided additional information on a brand of shoes that could encourage viewers to purchase the product – with the continuous presence of the shoes and the camera zooming in on the logo – all of which go against the legislation in force.

The council imposed a fine of HUF two hundred thousand on the operator of M5 for airing the programme Rejtélyes XX. század on four occasions in September at the wrong time and with inappropriate age ratings. Due to the subject matter of the programme on the cleansing activities of Stalin in Bulgaria, it should have featured an age rating of 16 and above and broadcasted only between 9.00 p.m. and 5.00 a.m., yet the channel aired the programme with a rating suitable for all audiences, and in the morning and day-time hours.

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.