As is the case every year, this year the NMHH has again observed the late-May deadline in submitting its reports to the National Assembly on electronic communications and the activities of the Media Council. The documents will first be reviewed by the competent special commissions before the National Assembly’s plenary votes on approving the reports. The two publications of one hundred and ten and one hundred and fifty pages, respectively, can be downloaded in pdf format (similarly to the reports from previous years) from the NMHH website.
Report on electronic communications
Apart from providing a review of the telecommunications and postal market in 2019, the publication on the authority’s electronic communications activity also deals with the introduction and transposition into Hungarian law of the European Electronic Communications Code. Naturally, the report also gives a detailed overview of the results of and lessons learned from the ITU Telecom World conference hosted in Budapest and the WRC-19 conferences held in Sharm El Sheikh. The report reveals that in 2019, during the supervision of electronic communications service providers, the authority examined the net neutrality rules, which affect a wide range of subscribers, as well as the regularity of the pricing of international calls to the European Union, along with the payment of liquidated damages, which—based on the experience of inspections and the complaints received by the authority—is a particularly delicate subject in the relationship between subscribers and service providers. A new development in 2019 was that in the licencing of communications structures, the reports and building permit requests can now be submitted electronically.
The summary emphasises that a key achievement in the field of spectrum management in Hungary has been the successful completion of the tender procedure for national terrestrial digital television broadcasting networks, awarded to Antenna Hungária Zrt. for 12 years. The report also touches on the results of the authority’s monitoring service, whose experts last year carried out electrosmog measurements with handheld instruments at 559 sites and multi-day measurements with fixed-location instruments at 401 sites. The document also provides a summary of the authority’s work last year in the field of child protection and educational support, disclosing, for example, that the authority’s legal assistance service, Internet Hotline, received a record number of over eight hundred reports over the course of a year, while over 11 thousand students from more than 260 schools attended the activities of the Magic Valley media literacy education centres in Budapest and Debrecen.
Report of the Media Council
The Media Council’s report also features details on the outgoing members of the Media Council and the incoming members taking over in December, as well as the latest publications of the NMHH Institute for Media Studies, describes the changes to the Media Act—which is the fundamental legislation for the Media Council as an authority enforcing the law—and presents each of the Media Council’s decisions related to hate speech, balanced coverage, human rights, the protection of minors and commercial announcements in a thematic breakdown. The report uses nearly a hundred charts, figures and diagrams to review the changes in the legal standing and market situation of media services and also provides an account of the Media Council’s co-regulation and patronage activities. Last year, the Media Council made nearly 1,400 decisions, the majority of which were related to media service provision rights (786) and media supervision (236).
A separate chapter deals with the media analysis activities of NMHH. As part of these efforts, in 2019, the authority continued to examine the observance of the maximum ratio of news reports on crimes, the representation of social diversity, the publication practices of television commercials, sponsored programmes and product placements, the relative loudness of advertisements and previews, as well as the required accessibility measures for the hearing impaired in programmes designated by law. The infographics on the 2018 and 2019 surveys on media consumption in Hungary included in the publication’s annex also provide detailed information on television viewing habits, the most popular television and radio programmes, as well as the most popular websites, printed media products and most frequently aired commercials in the period under review, among others.