Archive item

Title: Hungary: KlubRadio case shows recent media laws censoring
Other/original title:
Publisher: Article 19
Files: Hungary_ KlubRadio case shows recent media laws censoring · Article 19.pdf
Abstract: In this statement of 8 September 2011, international freedom of expression organisation Article 19 expressed its concern "that the Hungarian Media Council is stifling free speech and disregarding media pluralism in the country". The fate of KlubRadio, "the only remaining radio station independent from the current government," illustrates how "expansive discretionary powers over licensing decisions given to the Council by recent media laws are being abused to censor political debate," Article 19 argues in the statement. Despite healthy audience ratings, Article 19 explains, KlubRadio faces permanent closure. "In February 2011, the KlubRadio’s license at 95.3MHz expired, requiring the station to enter into a new competition for the frequency. In June 2011, however, the Media Council quietly introduced a new system of frequency licenses. The new tender for KlubRadio’s frequency is for a ‘music radio that presents some local information and values’, thereby excluding KlubRadio, which concentrates predominately on national news and politics. Conversely, pro-governmental alternatives to KlubRadio, such as Lánchíd Rádió, obtained a new license from the Council without any problems." Article 19 expresses its concern at the apparently arbitrary or politically motivated nature of the Media Council’s decision, explaining that it's not the first time that the new body made a regulatory decision which almost brought KlubRadio to a collapse. The statement concludes that "the Media Council must show the international community that it can be trusted with the unprecedented new powers that have been conferred on it .. and must demonstrate that its regulatory decisions are being made independently of political inclination."
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-09-08
Language: English
Rights: Article 19. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.