Among more than thirty items on the agenda for Parliament in its last session of the year yesterday, the National Assembly elected lawyer András Koltay (pictured) as Chair of the Media Council. The current rector of the National University of Public Administration (NKE) received 134 votes in favor of the nomination, with 5 against and 1 abstention.
Koltay was nominated by Viktor Orbán to head the media oversight body after former Chair Mónika Karas resigned from the position last month.
Karas’ term would have otherwise expired in September 2022, after the Hungarian general election in April. But her resignation opened up the possibility for the current government to appoint a successor to serve for the next nine years, until 2030. President János Áder subsequently appointed Koltay as Chair of the National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) on December 1, also replacing Karas in the role, and Parliament has now elected him Chair of the Media Council in addition to his role as the head of NMHH.
Under Karas’ leadership, according to Telex, the NMHH and Media Council avoided taking strong stands on media issues that the government might consider unpleasant, and had assisted with silencing opposition media voices. One example of this, notes the news source, is withdrawing the 92.9 FM frequency from government-critical radio station Klubrádió in February and awarding it to Retró Rádió, a station owned by the pro-government KESMA holding company.
According to his biography published on the NMHH website, András Koltay is a professor at the NKE and the Péter Pázmány Catholic University, has published more than 250 scientific articles in Hungarian and foreign publications, and is the editor of two legal journals. His main areas of research are related to freedom of expression, media law, and individual rights.
From 2010 to 2019, Koltay was a member of the Media Council of the National Media and Communications Authority, and since 2018 he has been rector of the National University of Public Administration.