Media Council issues HUF 25.5 million in fines to TV2

The Media Council has fined national commercial TV station TV2 a total of HUF 23 million (EUR 78,800) for three content-related violations and an additional HUF 2.5 million fine for a violation related to advertising. TV2 was fined HUF 12.5 million (EUR 42,000) for its program, “Mokka,” which asked the audience to vote on the motives behind a recent murder of child and offered participants a chance to win a holiday in the Hungarian countryside for voting. The Media Council ruled that program editors violated the protection of human dignity clause in the “media constitution” (Act CIV of 2010), saying that the editors “neglected the emotions of the relatives and used the tragedy of a family for financial profit.”

The station was fined an additional HUF 10 million (EUR 34,000) for failing to give the program a “not recommended for under 12 years” rating and airing the program before 9 p.m., in breach of the media laws (see Articles 9 – 11, of the Mttv). TV2 was also fined HUF 500,000 (EUR 1,700) for its coverage of the mother of the murdered child on its news program called “Tények” (Facts), which the Media Council ruled as inappropriate and lacking news value, and was given an additional HUF 2.5 million (EUR 8,500) fine for violations to rules on product placement.

TV2 is challenging the Media Council’s “human dignity” sanction in court, arguing that cases of human dignity and personal rights should be decided not by the Media Council but by civil courts. The company also argued that no one in the family has complained about the programs and that other channels have presented  murder cases in a similar manner.

TV2 is the second most-watched TV channel in Hungary, after the top-rated channel, RTL Klub. The station is majority owned by a holding company for Netherlands-based Broadcasting Europe B. V, a subsidiary of German media conglomerate, ProSiebenSat.1