Klubradio loses appeal to renew licence

A Budapest court has rejected an appeal by private broadcaster Klubradio against a decision by Hungary's media authority not to renew its licence.

The Budapest Municipal Court said in a statement on Tuesday that under the relevant law, the Media Council of the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) had no room to consider Klubradio’s appeal due to “repeated offences” committed by the broadcaster.

Last September, the NMHH announced that it would call another tender for the 92.9 MHz frequency in Budapest, as it was not renewing Klubradio’s licence due to its violations of Hungary’s media law.

The licence of the station popular with opposition listeners expires on Feb. 14.

The court noted that the Media Council’s decision not to renew Klubradio’s licence had been based on its findings of the broadcaster’s offences which Klubradio had not challenged.

Because the ruling on Klubradio’s repeated offences had been final, neither the Media Council, nor the court could deliberate its appeal, the statement said.

The NMHH said in September that during its seven years on the air on the 92.9 MHz frequency, Klubradio had violated the media law on multiple occasions.

It said the broadcaster had accepted the rulings on its offences and had paid the fines that had been levied on it.

The authority later said that it had not “stripped” Klubradio of the 92.9 MHz frequency, pointing out that frequencies are allocated to radio stations through tenders.

In October, the NMHH said Klubradio had every chance of success in its bid for the 92.9 MHz frequency, arguing that criteria for a successful bid include experience in providing a media service. Klubradio, it said, had a built-in advantage, having already broadcast on that frequency.

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