End of the road for Hungary's last critical radio station

Hungarian radio station Klubrádió's broadcasting licence will not be renewed. Hungary's Media Council cited minor regulatory offences as the reason for the decision. An appeal against the ruling failed. Since Klubrádió is the last radio station in the country that is critical of the government, commentators see this as a politically motivated decision and call on Brussels to intervene.

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444 (HU) /

All-powerful Fidesz body

The decision only confirms a general trend in Hungary, 444 observes:

“The Media Council created by the [Fidesz] legislators is in practice the master over life and death in almost every sector of the media industry. The cynical murder of Klubradio was practically and legally made possible by the fact that only the delegates of the ruling party have been sitting on this quasi omnipotent council for 11 years. ... The decision of the Media Council is here the illustration of the general attitude [of all authorities] that makes Hungary an unbearable place. ... If someone is not a crony, they get screwed.”

The Independent (GB) /

Investigate potential misuse of EU funds

Writing in The Independent, author Zsuzsanna Szelényi calls for more commitment on the part of EU representatives:

“European politicians, particularly members of the European People's Party to which Orbán's Fidesz party still belongs, have so far been quiet on the threat to Hungary's last radio station that openly criticises the government. They must urgently investigate the potential misuse of EU funds to undermine media freedom and pluralism in Hungary, while also standing up for independent journalism in the country. EU funds should serve to build a common Europe, not to undermine democracy. There is no free election without a free and balanced press.”

Népszava (HU) /

Klubrádió lacks friends in high places

In the absence of any strong business presence the EU will remain passive once again, Népszava predicts:

“The EU has the right and the means to intervene. Not on the basis of lofty principles that, in the absence of any sanctions, are of no use at all, but on the basis of the very tangible competition laws. Because the European Union is essentially not a political community of values but continues to be a simple economic bloc. ... There would hardly be any danger of Klubrádió being silenced if there were a strong German owner behind the station who is even acquainted with Ursula von der Leyen. ”