Emmis snubbed by Hungarian high court


Hungary’s Supreme Court has ruled on cases brought by Sláger Radio, which had been primarily owned by Emmis Communications, and Danubius radio, which also had a foreign owner. It was a split decision, but also a meaningless one.

Up until now both Sláger and Danubius had been winning their court battles against the new companies which snared their licenses and the former media authority in Hungary, the ORTT. More recently a new media authority was created, the NMHH.

Emmis/Sláger refused to even participate in the Supreme Court proceedings, following passage of the new media law, so it lost. Danubius won its case against the new licensee of its frequency and the media authority. But it seems to be a hollow victory, since the Supreme Court has no power to order the NMHH to do anything. The high court made clear in its ruling that the bidding was flawed and that the NMHH should terminate both contracts and re-bid the frequencies. That is unlikely to happen.

“We are disappointed but not surprised with the court ruling,” Emmis spokesperson Kate Snedeker told RBR-TVBR. “We had already realized that changes to the Hungarian Media law this fall eliminated any remedy we may have had through the Hungarian courts.  Earlier this month we informed the Hungarian Supreme Court that we were not appearing in the case before them and were focusing our full time and attention to pursuing our claims in international arbitration.  We look forward to presenting our claims before a fair and impartial international arbitration tribunal that has the prospect of giving us a remedy.”