Media Council reveals further infringements in the 11th season of ValóVilág

Published: 30 March 2023

The Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority has identified problems with three media services under non-Hungarian jurisdiction due to incorrect age ratings and programmes broadcast at inappropriate times. At its last meeting, the Council also decided on an infringement identified during the official inspection of a regional television station in Szombathely.

The Media Council has investigated the 11th season of ValóVilág, both on the basis of a citizen’s complaint and ex officio. The Council has already reported the infringements to the Luxembourg media authority, which has jurisdiction, regarding the 24-hour live streaming on RTL Kettő channel and on the online service RTL+, and has requested that the necessary measures be taken.

Following the latest official inspections, further breaches of the Hungarian regulations were found in the recaps (summaries) of ValóVilág broadcast on 14 and 16 February: the programmes violated human dignity, the rules prohibiting the self-serving and degrading portrayal of vulnerable persons, and the provisions on the protection of minors. In addition, there was also a violation of human dignity in the live online content: the means and visual effects of the reality genre used by the media service provider violate human dignity.

The Media Council will notify the Luxembourg counterpart authority with jurisdiction of the new infringements under Hungarian law and request that it take the necessary measures.

On the basis of this request, the counterpart authority must also call on the service provider to comply with Hungarian law and inform the Media Council and the European Commission of the steps it has taken to resolve the problems. It must then inform the Media Council within two months of the results achieved or, if no solution has been found, explain why.

If the Member State having jurisdiction does not act within the deadline or if the results achieved are not satisfactory, the Media Council may take further action. Subject to the conditions set out in the legislation, the Council is then empowered to take action against the offending media service provider.

Infringements have also been found under Hungarian law in relation to content available on Netflix on-demand (streaming) services.

The 7th episode (Mary Celeste) of the series “Dive Club” is available on the operator’s online platforms with a rating of 7+, but the Authority considers that it should be made available with an age rating of “not recommended for audiences under the age of 12”, based on its content, and that the age rating should be prominently displayed on the interface containing the programme offer. The Media Council will notify this to the Dutch counterpart authority with jurisdiction over Netflix.

Also based on a complaint notification, the authority investigated the programme “London Has Fallen” broadcast on Super TV2 on 21 January at 8 pm, which the media service provider classified as “not recommended for audiences under the age of 12” (age category III).

The Media Council found that the film should have been classified in age category IV (not recommended for audiences under the age of 16) and shown between 21:00 and 05:00, due to the choice of subject matter, violence and obscenity contained in the film. As Super TV2 is operated by a company registered in Romania, the Media Council is requesting action from the Romanian counterpart authority having jurisdiction over the company.

A similar decision was taken by the Council following the inspection of the programme entitled “Big Stan”, broadcast on Mozi+ channel, also under Romanian jurisdiction, on 22 February at 7.20 am: the film contains scenes that justify a category IV age rating (not recommended for audiences under the age of 16), to be broadcast only after 9 pm due to violent scenes, depictions of sexuality and obscene language.

The commercial media service provider Szombathelyi Televízió, having a regional reception area, operated by Agora Savaria Nonprofit Kft, published information of advertising value (information on ticket outlets, coupons offering discounts, gift vouchers) embedded in its programme entitled “Workshop” (in Hungarian: Műhely), within the part of a discussion on two musical performances, on 20 December 2022 at 6.16 pm, and repeated at 7.16 pm, but the media service provider did not openly disclose the intention of promotion, and misled the audience with regard to the disclosure, as the viewers did not encounter the contested content through advertising separate from the edited content. The Media Council imposed a fine of HUF 150 thousand on the service provider for the above.