MTVA refuses to reveal new funding needs

The Media Services and Asset Management Fund (MTVA), the body that manages Hungary’s public media, refused to tell members of Parliament why the amount it would borrow from a consortium of banks was increased from HUF 40 billion to HUF 63 billion, according to reports.

In a loan agreement announced November 7, the MTVA arranged to borrow HUF 63 billion (EUR 210 million) from a consortium of banks made up of MFB, OTP Bank, KDB Bank and Magyar Takarékszövetkezet Bank. The loan is to be used to purchase and upgrade the MTVA’s headquarters and production base on Kunigunda útja in Óbuda. The MTVA had originally received Media Council approval this summer to borrow HUF 40 million for the work.

Despite questions from members of Parliament, the MTVA reportedly declined to disclose the reason for its need for an additional HUF 23 million – a more than 50 percent increase in the original size of the requested loan. According to reports, a Jobbik MP complained that the Media Authority (NMHH) is not part of the state budget, and said the body functions as a “state within the state,” because Parliament cannot question its president and cannot exercise any control over the media regulator.

The overseer of Hungary’s public media, the MTVA is managed by Hungary’s Media Council, which is responsible for approving the Fund’s annual financial plan and subsidy policy and for determining the rules governing how MTVA’s assets can be used managed, and accessed by the public media.