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Feud between ATV and Klubrádió

May 10th, 2021

Since Spirit FM, the online radio station twinned with ATV, has been provisionally authorised to broadcast on Klubrádió’s orphaned frequency, the two opposition media companies have traded insults in the press.

In an unsigned report on its Internet site when the print weekly was already available on the newsstands, 168 óra reveals that Klubrádió’s founding owner, András Arató attempted to get a journalist at another weekly, Jelen, dismissed because of her part-time involvement with Spirit FM. Neither Jelen nor the journalist, Dóra Ónody-Molnár wished to comment. Arató denied that he had asked for the journalist to be sacked – he just asked the editor of Jelen whether Ónody-Molnár’s presence on Spirit FM was compatible with her job at Jelen. 168 óra runs the story under the title ‘Klubrádió’s owner is gunning for journalists’. (To make things more complicated, 168 óra employs several journalists who are also regular contributors to Klubrádió, while Brit Media Ltd, the owner of 168 óra, is a minority owner of Klubrádió. Earlier, Heti Világgazdaság suspected a Hassidic denomination, EMIH of being behind Brit Media).

In a communiqué on its own website, Klubrádió called anyone cooperating with Spirit FM traitors. They accuse the owners of ATV, the Congregation of the Faith, an evangelical church, of cooperating with the authorities that refused to renew Klubrádió’s licence (see BudaPost, March 14). They describe ATV and Spirit FM as ‘Ghouls’ and write, in a clear reference to the Holocaust, that ‘claiming property confiscated from the victims of those in power is not without some tradition in our country’.

Szilárd S. Németh, the ATV programme director told 168 óra that Spirit FM only asked for a provisional licence on Klub Rádió’s frequency months after Klub Rádió had ceased broadcasting and will ‘withdraw with dignity’ as soon as Klubrádió wins back its licence in court. He also dismissed references to the Holocaust as tasteless – ‘I would never use the memory of the Holocaust for business purposes, he said.

Meanwhile, in an appeal on the Klubrádió website, Marxist philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás called on opposition-leaning intellectuals and opposition politicians to boycott both ATV and Spirit FM, lest they be perceived as accomplices in this ‘despicable procedure’. He also urged all journalists at Spirit FM and ATV to resign.