The dispute between the Media Council and Klubrádió came to an end by the Authority winning the lawsuit

Published: 14 October 2020

The Media Council recently received the final court resolution dated 24 September according to which the Council won the lawsuit filed by Klubrádió in 2015 for damages amounting to nearly HUF 1.4 billion.

In the repeated proceedings, the Regional Court of Budapest approved the ruling of the Metropolitan Court of first instance that fully dismissed the petition of Klubrádió. The courts overseeing the proceedings unanimously ascertained that Klubrádió’s claims for damages are unfounded as even without any particular expertise, it can be clearly established that the calculation methodology included in the petition is erroneous and unrealistic, furthermore, Klubrádió has been unable to prove that there was any connection between its loss of revenues and the legal dispute with the Media Council. The final ruling emphasises that although the court was not bound by any obligation to educate the plaintiff, the Metropolitan Court informed Klubrádió on numerous occasions that the basic assumptions of the calculation methodology indicated in their petition were faulty, yet Klubrádió refused to rectify these fundamental shortcomings even after the court’s warning.

Klubrádió based its petition partly on the fact that the Media Council concluded the contract on the use of the free (92.9 MHz) frequency with delay, during which time it was forced to pay the media service provision fee for another commercial frequency (95.3 MHz), furthermore it claimed that due to the legal dispute over the media service provision right its revenues decreased by HUF 1.2 billion. Additionally, Klubrádió based its claim for damages caused by the loss of reputation resulting from press statements related to the case.

The first partial resolution in the case was issued in 2016, in which the court ordered the Media Council to reimburse media service provisions fees amounting to HUF 103 million, furthermore established a HUF 1.7 million in non-material damages to be paid to Klubrádió. Naturally, the NMHH reimbursed said amounts to Klubrádió in due time. Thus, between 2011 and 2021 – as the sole operator on the Hungarian radio market to do so – Klubrádió used the radio frequency without paying a media service provision fee.

The Media Council won the lawsuit regarding the HUF 1.2 billion in lost profits, yet the court of second instance obliged the court of first instance to conduct repeated proceedings and called for further substantiation. The results of said repeated proceedings were upheld by the resolution of the Regional Court of Budapest dated 24 September, in which it fully dismissed the petition of Klubrádió and required Klubrádió to pay HUF 30 million in legal costs to the Media Council.