Hungary’s Klubradio fights to stay on air after hostile decision by pro-government regulator
Klubradio, known as the last independent radio station in Hungary, has publicly protested against what itr calls an “illegal” decision by the government-controlled Media Council to deny its broadcasting license from next month.
The AEJ, together with other press freedom organisations and civil society voices in Hungary and internationally, is acutely concerned for the future of Klubradio, known as Hungary’s leading and last surviving independent radio station. The powerful Media Council has rejected the station’s application to extend its broadcasting licence from February for the next seven years. In past years Hungarian courts have ruled several times that the Media Council acted unlawfully by seeking to strip Klubradio of its licence. Now the President of Klubradio, Andras Arato, has issued a public appeal in an attempt to reverse the decision by the regulator which would silence the station’s critical voice. Here is Mr Arato’s statement:-
“Klubradio continues its fight to keep its broadcasting licence along with two lines”.
First is the court case we initiated because the Media Council in an illegal decision has denied us the extension of our licence for seven additional years in accordance with the media law. This case is expected to result in a decision on February 9., but even a positive outcome would not necessarily mean we could keep our frequency as the omnipotent Authority can instantly issue a second denial based on modified false claims.
Second is the tender opened by the Media Council to reuse Klubradio’s current frequency. Of the three original applicants, Klubradio remained the only one not disqualified by the Media Council, but there is a catch. The two other, disqualified applicants attacked their exclusion at court. Their legal motion blocks the tender for a period of 6 to 18 months.
Evidentially none of the two legal cases can be settled before the expiration of our licence on February 14. For this reason, Klubradio has asked the court to force the Media Council to issue a temporary broadcasting licence. At this moment only a positive move by the court would provide a chance to defeat the intended silencing of the station.”
Andras Arato, President of Klubradio