It appears Emmis Communications’ Slager Radio and another foreign-owned station, Danubius Radio, aren’t the only ones to have their licenses jerked by Hungary’s political leaders. The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban has now targeted opposition-affiliated Klub Radio for silence.
The new Media Council, which took over from the previous broadcast regulator in 2010, ruled in December that Klub Radio could not renew its license to broadcast in Budapest, despite having been on the air for over a decade. Instead, the license was awarded to a startup. Klub Radio had already been stripped of several transmitters in other parts of the country.
Despite condemnation from the European Union and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Orban has stood firm on recent actions to strip established radio stations of their licenses.
RBR-TVBR observation: As was the case with Slager and Danubius, it appears the new bidder for the Klub frequency simply submitted a financial bid it could not possibly ever make good on. And it won’t have to, so long as it stays in the good graces of the ruling party. It is sad to see how quickly democracy has crumbled in Hungary.