Opposition figures Wednesday lashed out at the Media Council’s Tuesday decision to award the frequency used by popular talk radio station Klubrádió to recently founded Autórádió.
The station will have to give up the frequency by March 31.
Media Council spokeswoman Karola Kiricsi told reporters that the council awarded the maximum points to Klubrádió in aspects such as proportion of music, public service, programming plans and experience, but that the bid score less well on other criteria.
Kiricsi would not say what other criteria she spoke of and left the press conference after answering three questions.
Klubrádió managing director András Arató told Népszabadság that it speaks for itself that a company owned by two persons unknown in the radio trade and founded this year with only Ft 1 million of equity has won the tender.
He said he will in all certainty take the case to court once he receives official notification, as Klubrádió owes a moral obligation to its half a million listeners and 10,000 financial supporters.
OSCE representative for press freedom Dunja Mijatovic also expressed concern, saying “it is regrettable that an independent and popular political talk radio station is to be terminated. The radio station known for its critical political views had half a million listeners daily. As an important source of independent information it contributed to the diversity of the media.”
Socialist leader Attila Mesterházy said a media outlet which always knew the difference between servility and service has been silenced. It was Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who banned the radio station, he declared.
In response, the Media Council described itself as an autonomous state administrative body independent of the government and said it has assigned the state-owned radio frequencies in a procedure regulated by law.
LMP deputy caucus leader Gergely Kará¬csony asserted that the decision was solely defined by the interests of business groups close to Fidesz.