The International Press Institute has expressed serious concerns about the decision by Hungary’s Media Council to revoke the frequency license for Tilos Rádió.
According to the organization, which advises the United Nations, UNESCO, and the Council of Europe:
Our organisations are concerned that this decision appears to be yet another disproportionate move by the Media Council, whose members were all nominated and appointed solely by the ruling party, which will force another independent voice off the country’s airwaves and further weaken media pluralism.
The group notes that the campaign against Tilos has an earlier precedent, as “the ruling bears clear parallels by the discriminatory decision last year to force the country’s last remaining major independent radio broadcaster Klubrádió off the airwaves.”
The National Media and Infocommunications Authority’s (NMHH) Media Council chose not to extend Tilos Rádió’s licence in April, citing certain violations.
Tilos, meaning “Forbidden,” has been broadcasting in Budapest for decades, first as a pirate radio station and later as the first non-profit independent radio station in Hungary. The station has been on the 90.3 MHz frequency since 2015, where it offers occasional government-critical commentary.
Station director Gábor Csabai told HVG that they had written the “world’s best tender,” but if “the media authorities still find something wrong with it, we’ll continue on the internet, as Klubrádió has done.” [HVG]