Hungarian-Czech cooperation in the media surveillance of Film Café and Comedy Central

Published: 16 July 2020

At its weekly session, the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) announced three radio frequency tender winners outside of Budapest. At the initiative of the Hungarian authority, the Czech media authority imposed a fine and a warning on the service provider of Film Café, which is under the Czech media authority’s jurisdiction but broadcasting in Hungary, due to the violation of child protection rules, and has also issued a warning to the service provider of Comedy Central.

Radio tenders and fines

At its weekly session, the Media Council announced the winners of the radio tenders for the community use of regional radio frequency 102.6 MHz in Nyíregyháza and for the commercial use of local frequencies 104.9 MHz in Sátoraljaújhely and 99.8 MHz in Körmend: the winner of the Nyíregyháza frequency is Karc FM Média Kft., the winner of the Sátoraljaújhely frequency is Zemplén Televízió Közhasznú Nonprofit Kft., and the winner of the Körmend frequency is Rádió 9 Körmend Kft. In the latter two tenders, only one bidder had submitted a bid to each of the tenders.

The Media Council has carried out the formal examination of the single bids submitted for the community use of the regional frequency Szeged 100.2 MHz and for the community use of theMezőkövesd 102.1 MHz frequency with a local coverage area, and has ordered Karc Média Kft. to remedy deficiencies of the former bid, while regarding the latter bid, the Council registered Európa Rádió Nonprofit Közhasznú Kft.

The Media Council has also completed the compliance review regarding the programme quotas of radio operators in 2019, and subsequently imposed fines in the range of HUF ten thousand to HUF 1.1 million on ten service providers, for failing to meet their legal obligations. Pursuant to applicable law, the proportion of European and Hungarian-produced work, or the proportion of independent European and Hungarian works that are not older than five years, must reach a defined minimum percentage of the transmission time.

After examining a broadcast day in May of Komlós Városi Televízió, the Council imposed a fine of HUF 50 thousand on the television channel’s service provider for unauthorised networking with Petőfi Rádió when showing teletext messages and airing a radio programme and has banned such unlawful conduct. The radio’s service provider was unaware of the networking.

The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 10,000 on the operator of SOLA Rádió of Budapest for airing less news and programmes dealing with and assisting local public and everyday life as compared with its contractual commitments than stipulated in its contractual commitments during a reviewed programming week in May.

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 gradualism and proportionality.

Hungarian Media Council initiatives at the Czech counterpart authority

The Media Council contacted RRTV - the Czech counterpart authority - in connection with the programming of multiple channels under Czech jurisdiction that are transmitting programmes in Hungary. Pursuant to the foregoing, RRTV imposed fines of 150 thousand and 100 thousand Czech Korunas - an appr. total of HUF 3.3 million - on the service provider of Film Café, for having broadcast the films Lonely Hearts and The Crow that contained violent and shocking scenes without consideration for children, during daytime hours; and also issued a warning to the service provider for the daytime broadcast of the films Your Highness, Wanderlust, and The Boss. The Czech authority also ordered the service provider of Comedy Central to comply with Hungarian child protection laws in connection with the four Family Guy episodes broadcast during the morning hours on the channel.

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.