Not even the court would stop the Media Council, Klubrádió will no longer stay on air

The Metropolitan Court of Budapest dismissed the action brought by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) on behalf of Klubrádió against the decision of the media authority to silence the radio station without giving detailed reasons.

The Media Council referred to minor administrative violations in September when it decided not to extend the Klubrádió service provider’s frequency usage right, which expires on February 14th. In other cases however the authority was less harsh: after failures of similar gravity other radio broadcasters were still allowed to renew their eligibility for the tender.

The decision was legally challenged by Klubrádió with the help of the HCLU, asking the court to oblige the Media Council to conduct a new procedure. The relevant action was dismissed by the Metropolitan Court on 9 February. The court gave a surprisingly brief reasoning for the decision, not addressing why the authority had made contrary decisions in the case of other radio stations, nor that the administrative omission of Klubrádió was a minor infringement which normally could not have been invoked by the Media Council as a “repeated violation”.

However even if the court had annulled the decision of the Media Council it would not have been enough on it’s own to allow Klubrádió to broadcast uninterruptedly in Budapest after 14 February. Therefore the radio station also asked the court to temporarily allow it to broadcast until the ongoing proceedings were completed. This was rejected by the court on the grounds that the authorization could not be granted by domestic law and that only the Media Council could authorize the temporary broadcasting of the radio station.

This means that Klubrádió will not stay on the air on its current frequency from February 14, and while it may continue to broadcast online it certainly won’t reach all of its previous listeners. “The Hungarian public is once again the loser as the government liquidates an opponent media outlet. "Although the radio is silenced on this frequency the dispute does not end there” said Júlia Kaputa, legal officer of the HCLU's Political Freedoms Project.

Klubrádió was represented by Dr. Tímea Váci, the lawyer of the HCLU in this case.


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