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Klubrádió wins another lawsuit

March 8th, 2013

Left-wing columnists welcome a court decision which opens up the possibility for Klubrádió to keep its frequency. They suspect, however, that the Media Authority will try once again to find a way to silence the opposition radio station.

The Budapest Administrative Court overturned the Media Authority”s decision which disqualified Klubrádió from a frequency tender for formal mistakes in its bid (see BudaPost July 10, 2012), and declared the tender unsuccessful. Klubrádió has been operating on a temporal license renewed every second month by the Media Authority. The court ruling stipulates that the Media Authority has to start a new evaluation procedure. Since the only valid bid remaining is the one from Klubrádió, it is likely that it will keep its frequency. András Arató, the owner of Klubrádió hopes that the local frequency will be offered to Klubrádió free of charge. Klubradio also has another court case pending, in which it may still win a free news-and-talk radio frequency.

The court ruling is without doubt a victory both for Klubrádió and media freedom, but we have little to celebrate, György Sebes comments in Népszava. The left-wing columnist finds it sad and disappointing that more than two decades after the regime change we have cause to celebrate a victory over the government’s efforts to restrict media freedom. As for the future of Klubrádió, Sebes fears that despite the court verdict, the government will try to work out new tricks to silence this troublesome outlet.

In Népszabadság, Gábor Horváth also contends that. Horváth speculates that the Media Authority will procrastinate on the new tender evaluation procedure in the hope that Klubrádió will go bust in the meantime, in which case its demise could be blamed on the market. But even if Klubrádió can continue business, the frequency it will receive is now reserved for music stations, and thus Klubrádió will have to change its profile, Horváth remarks.

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