Péter Niedermüller’s statements on Magyar ATV were of a discriminatory nature

Published: 29 April 2020

At its weekly session, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) imposed a fine of HUF 100 thousand on the service provider of Magyar ATV and ordered the release of a statement by reason of the discriminatory statements made in a January broadcast of the programme “A nap híre” (News of the Day). The Council’s further decisions included waiving the Q2 media service provision fees of 355 service providers due to changes in the legal background, thus the Authority will refund the deposits. The Council has renewed the entitlements of radios in Kaposvár and Tamási for another five years and has announced the winner in the Debrecen and Sopron frequency tenders.

Péter Niedermüller’s statements on Magyar ATV were of a discriminatory nature

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 100 thousand on the media service provider of Magyar ATV and ordered it to release a statement after having reviewed a January broadcast of the programme “A nap híre” (News of the Day) in which Budapest District VII mayor Péter Niedermüller made a statement which denounced white, Christian and heterosexual people. In the proceedings, the board established that the statements aired were of a discriminatory nature and that the presenter, as the representative of the media service provider, failed to condemn the statements or counter them with their opinion. As a result, beyond imposing a fine, the Media Council required Magyar ATV to read the following statement on air:

“The Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority has established that the Media Service Provider’s programme entitled “A nap híre” (News of the Day) aired on Magyar ATV on 23 January 2020 violated the provisions prohibiting media content suitable for inciting discrimination as the presenter failed to moderate or reject the guest’s generic, discriminatory statements made in reference to white, Christian and heterosexual people.”

The media service provider has the right to appeal against the decision to the court. When imposing a fine, the Media Council always determines the form and extent of the sanctions with due consideration of all circumstances of the specific case and employing the principles of progressiveness and proportionality.

Pursuant to the governmental decree on the exemption of media service provision fees, twenty-two media service providers have revoked their request for payment by instalments

The Media Council has terminated proceedings regarding twenty-two service providers after they revoked their requests for payment facilitations due to the government’s decree pursuant to which service provider affected by the state of danger are exempt from paying media service provision fees for Q2. NMHH will credit the previously dispatched quarterly invoices, whilst service providers who have already paid their fees for Q2 will be reimbursed for the amounts. The decree offers facilitations for 355 operators of 79 radio and 304 audiovisual commercial media services due to the changed economic and market situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Decisions concerning radio frequencies

At the request of the media service providers, the Media Council has extended the media service provision rights of Tamási Rádió Kft. and Katolikus Rádió Zrt. broadcasting on the Tamási 101.9 MHz and Kaposvár 102.6 MHz local radio frequencies, for another five years, until 2 August 2025 and 8 August 2025, respectively. This allows them to continue the commercial Tamási Rádió and community Magyar Katolikus Rádió 102.6 MHz services.

The Media Council announced Karc FM Média Kft., the sole bidder, as the winner of the tender for the community use of the Debrecen 106.0 MHz and Miskolc 98.4 MHz regional frequencies. The service provider will broadcast the programmes of its entitlements in Budapest, Székesfehérvár, Tatabánya, Dunaújváros, Balatonfüred, Győr and Kaposvár connected into a network, under the names of KARC FM 106.0 and KARC FM 98.4.

The Council finalised the call for tender for the commercial use of local frequency Körmend 99.8 MHz.

Accessibility report: the quality of speech recognition-based subtitles must be improved

The Media Council has approved and published on its website the NMHH’s assessment on how and to what extent the seven national public service channels and the two major commercial channels made their programmes accessible to hearing-impaired viewers in the second half of 2019. During the over 4600 programme hours reviewed, nearly 83% of the programmes offered were accessible to the hearing-impaired, the figure being 88% for public service channels and 68.5% for commercial channels. The accessibility obligation for 99.8 percent of the transmission time as required by the Media Act was met by the service providers, yet anomalies in terms of content still occurred: for example, the complete lack of subtitles or their inaccurate content along with frequently occurring wrong use of words and errors. 

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.