Any contentious issues involving commercial broadcaster Klubradio should be resolved through legal channels, the Media Council of media authority NMHH said in a statement on Tuesday.
While there are no effective rulings to settle Klubradio’s situation, Hungary’s media law is ensuring that the station can continue to operate, the authority said.
Thousands demonstrated in central Budapest at the weekend to express their support for Klubradio. Organisers noted that the radio station had been operating under temporary licences for the past two years, and demanded the allocation of a permanent frequency for the broadcaster’s local station in Budapest. They also called for Klubradio’s network outside Budapest to be rebuilt and demanded that it should have the right to free broadcast as a community radio station.
Andras Arato, chief of the left-leaning station, said at the event that the station had become a symbol of the freedom of the press and accused the authority of representing a discriminative, protectionist attitude.
The NMHH said in its statement today that Arato had made “statements of a political nature,” qualifying this as “unusual”. The NMHH, an independent authority, will not act on political demands, it added.
Under Hungary’s media law the authority has ensured an opportunity for Klubradio to broadcast in Budapest for half of the regular fee. “[But] not paying even a reduced price contravenes European practice,” it added.
The Media Council will continue to ensure Klubradio’s right to use the 95.3 Mhz frequency in Budapest and will do its best to resolve contentious issues as soon as possible, the statement said.
Klubradio objects to the NMHH’s declaring the outcome of a bid for the 95.3 MHz frequency invalid. A final court ruling is expected on March 5.
The broadcaster has two ongoing disputes with the authority over frequencies, concerning the national 95.3 MHz and the local 92.9 MHz one which covers Budapest. In the case of the latter, Klubradio’s owners launched a lawsuit because the NMHH had failed to conclude a contract with it even though the authority’s predecessor, the ORTT, had declared its bid the winner.