Media Council: HUF 166 million in aid for the overhead costs of community radios and TVs

Published: 12 February 2020

By its decision taken at its meeting this week, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) will contribute to the overhead costs of twenty-five community television and radio stations. The Board imposed a fine on the operator of Manna FM for programming discrepancies and discussed the interview with Gergely Karácsony aired on M1.

Twenty-five community and small community media service providers received funding for overhead costs

In the first round of this year’s tender available to community media service providers for financing their overhead and operation costs, the Media Council awarded a total of HUF 166 million worth of funds to 25 applicants. Non-refundable funding has been awarded to the following television stations: Szentgál Televízió, TV Budakalász, TiszapART Televízió of Szeged, Körzeti Televízió of Esztergom, Baranya Televízió of Komló, TV Szentendre, Soltvadkerti TV, Szentes és Füred Televízió, Komló és Térsége Televízió, Sárrét TV, Kék Kálló Televízió of Derecske, Mezőtúri Városi Televízió, Magtv of Újhartyán, Ladány Televízió, Régió Plusz Televízió of Gödöllő, Városi TV Mohács, Danubia Televízió of Tahitótfalu, Kistelek Városi Televízió as well as Apostol TV and Hegyvidék Televízió of Budapest. Recipients of the funding include the following radio stations: Manna FM, Első Pesti Egyetemi Rádió, Győr Plusz Rádió and FM90 Campus Rádió of Debrecen.

Media supervisory decisions

The operator of Manna FM of Budapest was fined HUF 40,000 for airing less public service broadcasts and programmes dealing with and assisting local public life than stipulated in its contractual commitments during a programming week in November. When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the sanctions with due consideration to all the circumstances of the specific case and employing the principle of progressiveness and proportionality.

At this week’s meeting, the Media Council also discussed three reports regarding the 21 January broadcast of Ma este on channel M1. The programme featured an interview with Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest. The notifiers requested the authority to examine whether the programme met the basic requirements of public service, the provision of credible, fast and accurate information and balanced information. The Media Council concluded that, in the absence of a legislative mandate, it could not initiate proceedings, given that it cannot check the implementation of the basic requirements as it is only entitled to exercise official supervision in the case of specific facts of the matter.

In the case of channel M1, the fulfilment of public service and principles is monitored by the Board of Trustees of the Public Service Foundation, while enforcement of the rules of the Public Service Code is monitored by the Public Service Board, so the notifiers can submit their complaints to those bodies. On the basis of their content, the submissions cannot be judged as requests for fair and balanced reporting. In the event of a complaint regarding fair and balanced reporting, a special procedure applies, one of the conditions of which is for the applicant to first file a complaint with the media service provider, which, however, has not been substantiated by the complainants and they also failed to justify the missing, diverse position required for a balanced reporting. The editing characteristics of a report and the style of the presenter cannot be the subject of an official procedure due to the editorial freedom of media service providers.

Radio tenders

The Media Council approved the draft call for tender for the community use of the regional frequency Nyíregyháza 102.6 MHz. The document can be found on the NMHH website from 14 February. The Council has finalised and on Monday will publish on its website the calls for tender for the community use of the regional frequency Debrecen 106.0 MHz. Bids may be submitted on 30 March. After the formal review of the Miskolc 103.8 MHz regional community radio frequency tender procedure, the Media Council registered the sole bidder Karc FM Média Kft.

The Media Council has amended the calls for tenders for the local radio media service options of Siklós 88.6 MHz and Szigetvár 98.9 MHz. Accordingly, the submission dates of the bids have also been modified to 16 March for the former and 23 March for the latter tender. The amended calls for tenders will be published by the Board on Friday.

At the request of the operator, the Media Council has agreed that Mária Rádió Frekvencia Kft. would start its community broadcast on 27 May at the latest instead of 27 February on the Keszthely 93.4 MHz frequency under the name Mária Rádió Helikon, networked with FM 4 Rádió Kft.

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.