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Klub Radio to win new licence tender?

February 22nd, 2021

The left-wing radio station that went off air in mid-February (but is still available online) appears likely to win the new license tender for its former frequency, as the applications of both media companies which tried to compete for the frequency were rejected last December. Both have allegedly given up their attempts to appeal against the decision taken by the Media Authority.

In Magyar Demokrata, László Szentesi Zöldi thinks that Klub Radio’s owner created a media hype and suggested that his radio station was the victim of a political attack (see BudaPost February 11). His real aim, the right-wing commentator claims, was  to divert attention from the simple fact that he had failed on two occasions to submit documents required by law.  As a result the Media Authority could not automatically renew Klub Radio’s concession. The conservative commentator believes that the Media Authority did exactly what the law required, and it would have violated the regulations if instead of following the rules it had offered ‘preferential treatment’ to Klub Radio.

Magyar Hírlap’s Ferenc Brém-Nagy hopes that the ‘hysterical soap opera’ over Klub Radio will soon come to an end, as all the other applications have been withdrawn, and so Klub Radio is likely to get back its old 92.9 FM radio frequency. The pro-government columnist thinks that the return top the airwaves of Club Radio will disprove as bother groundless and absurd opposition and EU allegations of governmental interference with media freedom.

In a first page editorial, Magyar Narancs contends that the whole turmoil over Klub Radio was muscle flexing to demonstrate that the Hungarian media is at the mercy of the Media Authority, which is in the service of Fidesz. The liberal weekly suggests that Klub Radio is not a threat to Fidesz, as its target audience is determined opposition voters whose sympathies would not change even if Klub Radio was silenced. The government’s real motivation behind trying to shut down a station that, according to Magyar Narancs, was telling the truth rather than disseminating government propaganda, was that the government wanted to demonstrate its power and remind Klub Radio of the ‘boundaries of the reservation’ within which it can operate.