Final judgement of Capital Court in favor of Freedom of Information

The HCLU was contacted by a representative of Zöld Rádió Kht. (Green Radio) after failing to gain access to data on ad hoc winning tenders from the Radio and Television Commission. Previously, the Court in its first instance decison has ordered the Broadcasting Fund to issue the requested documentation, but since the defendant was not present at the reading of the verdict, the ruling did not come into effect.

The lawsuit was initiated against the Radio and Television Commission, but on the first day of hearings had to be changed to the Broadcasting Fund. According to the Act on Data Protection, the lawsuit has to be initiated against whoever denies access to the requested data. In this case, the Broadcasting Fund.

The Broadcasting Fund defense was build on the opinion, that since the 1996. Act I. 77.§ (1) paragraph on the tasks of the Broadcasting Fund does not mention that the Fund is a public service body, therefore the Fund does not fall into the Act on Data Protection’s jurisdiction.

In contrast to this, the HCLU’s opinion is that even though the Act does not specify the tasks to be of public interest, it does not eliminate it either. The task of the Fund is public service broadcasting and part of the funding of these public programs is from the state budget, therefore the activity of the Fund is undisputedly public service.

Considering, that according to the Act on Data Protection, any data handled by a public service body qualifies as public interest data, the HCLU’s opinion is that data handled by the Broadcasting Fund is also of public interest. Thus, denial of access to the requested data also falls under the jurisdiction of the strict orders of the Act on Data Protection.

 

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