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Stopping Klubrádió: an “especially bad decision”?

December 27th, 2011

A serious furore has erupted over the Media Council’s decision to award the frequency used by a left wing talk radio to another media company. A right wing analyst calls the decision an “especially bad one” as it has relaunched last year’s controversy over Hungary’s media law.

Last week the Media Council decided to award the frequency used by left wing talk radio station Klubrádió to the recently founded Autórádió. The station will have to give up the frequency it has used for the past ten years by the end of March at the latest. Media Council spokeswoman Karola Kiricsi stressed that board members awarded maximum points to Klubrádió in various fields (e.g. talk and music ratio, public service, programming plans and experience), but the bid scored less well on other criteria. Klubrádió’s managing director András Arató announced that he will take the case to court once he receives official notification.

Hunger strikes, demonstrations, international press conferences slamming the decision – these are just a few examples of the protest actions around media affairs nowadays, writes Ferenc Kumin in his blog.

The leading analyst at Századvég (an influential conservative think tank) calls the decision “an especially bad one” and fails to find any reasonable arguments in its defence, despite trawling traditional and internet media for some fair justification.

The decision came exactly one year after the international storm about Hungary’s new media law. One of the main critical arguments at that time concerned the possibility of political interference, although up until now there has been no proof that such criticism was justified – Ferenc Kumin remarks.

“The biggest problem is that the ruling reloaded last year’s quarrels and refreshed all the arguments, just at a time when people had become bored and weary of them” –  the right wing analyst notes. He admits he simply cannot find any real political reason behind the decision.

Although Ferenc Kumin believes that Klubrádió’s programmes (the phone-ins in particular) were often biased and unfair, they had a remarkable audience, who will definitely find their voices elsewhere. “If anything, they will become even more adamant in their attitudes.”

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