Archive item

Title: Hungary: Response to letter from National Media Infocommunications Authority
Other/original title:
Publisher: Article 19
Files: Hungary_ Response to letter from National Media Infocommunications… · Article 19.pdf
Abstract: In this open letter of 11 November 2011, executive director Agnes Callamard of the international freedom of expression organisation Article 19 responds to a letter by Annamaria Szalai, the President of the Media Authority and chairperson of the Media Council in Hungary, about questions the organisation had raised regarding the tendering process for the frequency currently used by oppositional radio station KlubRadio. Callamard argues that Szalai's letter did not address a number of issues with "profoundly troubling implications for freedom of expression". Since up to 80% of Budapest frequencies are used by music stations, she writes, it is hard to see how replacing existing popular political programmes by music and local news programmes benefits diversity of content and original programming, which Council of Europe Recommendation 2007(2) calls for. In response to Szalai's point that the tender invitation does positively evaluate public interest programming, Callamard points out that nevertheless, "no value is attached to national news and commentary" and "stations which have more than 60% music content are prioritised," disadvantaging Klubradio. In general, Article 19 "finds the new license requirements to be drafted in such vague terms that it opens the door to arbitrariness and abuse of power," Callamard writes. The organisation's concern that the Media Council's tender decisions are "guided by political considerations" is also informed by the appointment procedures for its members, Callamard notes, and will therefore only be dispelled when legal safeguards for the independence of the Media Council are introduced.
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-11-11
Language: English
Rights: Article 19. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.