Embatted radio station Klubrádió has turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for assistance in its fight against the Hungarian state. In September 2020, Klubrádió claims that the Media Council violated its right to free expression when the agency refused to renew its license to use the station’s radio frequency for another seven years.
According to a petition submitted to the court on Thursday, the NMHH Media Council violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which qualifies both the right to express an opinion and the right to information as a fundamental right.
Representing Klubrádió in the case is lawyer András Cech, who has conducted a number of other successful cases in Strasbourg.
Klubrádió’s request for the frequeny was rejected by the NMHH Media Council in September 2020, citing an alleged administrative error, while many other radio stations had their license extensions renewed without any problems. As a result, Klubrádió was forced to stop broadcasting on the 92.9 MHz frequency on February 14, 2021.
Klubrádió claims that Hungarian courts did not take its claims for the frequency into proper consideration. “As we have exhausted all legal remedies in Hungary, we had no choice but to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. We owe this to our listeners and to the staff of Klubrádió,” remarked Klubrádió CEO Dr. Richárd Stock.
Stock added, “Shame on the Hungarian legal system and case law that an important state body, such as the Media Council, can decide at its own discretion what the public can listen to and which radio can be denied a frequency. The right to freedom of information is a fundamental human right for the functioning of a democracy, which is why we had to turn to Strasbourg on this matter.”
Since February 14, 2021, Klubrádió has been forced to broadcast exclusively on the internet, through its Facebook, Instagram and Youtube channels.
Klubrádió claims to be the third most popular internet radio in Hungary, and the first in news and talk radio. For the past 10 years, the station has depended on the support of its listeners for its survival, and a fall donation campaign raised 111 million Ft. (US $346,000) from them.