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Government Refutes Accusations of Klubrádió Losing License Due to Political Decision

Hungary Today 2021.02.11.

Following the domestic and international uproar over the case of Hungary’s private broadcaster Klubrádió, government politicians also shared their take on the incident. According to State Secretary Kovács, the situation is simple: the radio station violated basic regulations several times. Meanwhile, Minister Gulyás thinks that although the case is ripe for “causing international hysteria”, it is not illegal.

Klubrádió committed major infractions, violated basic regulations not once, not twice, but six times, said Zoltán Kovács, in reaction to news regarding radio station Klubrádió having lost an appeal to keep its broadcast license after the Hungarian media regulator NMHH said it had infringed rules.

In a post on the website ‘About Hungary,’ the Secretary of State for International Communications said that these violations include an infraction of broadcasting without authorization in 2014, adding that the radio station never appealed these decisions.

Hungary’s Last Gov’t-Critical Radio Station Loses Licence after Court Ruling
Hungary’s Last Gov’t-Critical Radio Station Loses Licence after Court Ruling

Liberal-leaning Klubrádió will be silenced as of February 14th, after the Budapest-Capital Regional Court has rejected an appeal by the radio station against Hungary’s media authority’s decision not to renew its license. Klubrádió is one of the last radio stations in Hungary not under the government’s influence. It was back on September 11, 2020, when […]Continue reading

Kovács thinks that political interests sympathetic to the radio station’s programming will try to point fingers at the Orbán government but “…a closer look at the relevant laws and regulations quickly reveals that, in fact, the government has neither the right, the will, nor the possibility to interfere with the legal disputes of private market actors, the media authority and the courts.”

“I think this is what some people call the rule of law…,” he added.

According to Kovács, people are not going to hear about these violations from mainstream, liberal media outlets, simply because it would not fit their “anti-Orbán agenda.”

However, liberal news site hvg.hu points out that Kovács fails to mention that all members of the media regulator are close to the ruling Fidesz party, which is why many believe their refusal to extend Klubrádió’s license was politically motivated.

Klubrádió's Case: EC Voices Concern Over Hungarian Media Pluralism
Klubrádió's Case: EC Voices Concern Over Hungarian Media Pluralism

The European Commission (EC) has expressed concern over the case of Hungary’s Klubrádió, a private broadcaster popular with opposition listeners that will go off the air at the end of the week after losing an appeal to extend its licence. “The case of Klubrádió only aggravates our concerns” over media pluralism in Hungary, European Commission […]Continue reading

During his weekly press briefing, Gergely Gulyás also commented on the issue.

“Klubrádió’s case is ripe for causing international hysteria, but it is not illegal,” said the head of the PM’s Office, adding that the radio station’s almost decade-long fight for the frequency license is in fact evidence against criticisms of the state of press freedom in Hungary.

The liberal-leaning Klubrádió is among the last few radio stations in Hungary not under the government’s influence. As of February 14th, it will be silenced after a Budapest court has rejected an appeal by the radio station against Hungary’s media regulator’s decision not to renew its license. The decision caused an uproar both domestically and internationally and reignited debates about Hungarian freedom of the press and the governing forces’ excessive power.

Featured photo illustration via Pixabay