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Hungarian court rules in favour of community radio station

(IFJ/IFEX) - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) [the European group of the International Federation of Journalists] welcomes a symbolic and significant victory for independent media in Hungary. On 5 March, a court in Budapest ruled in favour of Klubrádió— an independent community radio station which had brought forward the case for a licence to broadcast in the city.

"We are relieved that at last Klubrádió will have its radio frequency, as ruled several times by the court”, said EFJ President Arne König. “We welcome the fact that justice took an independent decision and we now call on the Media Council to act immediately by creating the legal and administrative environment for the services of Klubrádió”.

In 2012, Klubrádió won a bid to operate a frequency in Budapest, but the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) refused to sign the broadcasting contract, which led to the litigation.

In recent months, three court decisions confirmed that Klubrádió has the legal right to its 95,3 frequency. However, the National Media Council has so far failed to comply with the court's decisions and refused to conclude a lawful contract with Klubrádió to allow the station to broadcast on the frequency. The National Media Authority, appointed by the prime minister and following its own political agenda, considered that it was not bound by the court's decision. Today [5 March], a fourth and last court case ruled that the National Media Council has to accept Klubrádió's original bid for its frequency.

Last Sunday, a mass demonstration took place and a petition was handed over to the Media Council with several thousands of signatures supporting Klubrádió and demanding the implementation of the court's ruling.

“With upcoming elections in 2014, it is vital for the public to have access to an independent radio channel in order to be informed properly,” added König.

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