COMPENDIUM CULTURAL POLICIES AND TRENDS IN EUROPE
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From July 2014 all media entrepreneurs, including publishers and beneficiaries of open air advertising and internet adverts have to pay sharply progressive tax above a certain income.

 

The firing of the editor-in-chief of origo.hu, one of the two major news portals, in June 2014, is seen as a reprisal for criticism of the Chief of the Prime Minister’s Office.

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Hungary/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

After the 2010 elections, fundamental restructuring took place in the media. In 2013, the Prime Minister appointed the president of the National Media and Info-communication Authority for nine years. The other four members of the Media Council were also appointed for nine years in 2010 – all five members delegated by the ruling parliamentary party. The Authority combines the functions of the former National Communications Authority, the Media Council, the Duna Television Board, and the National Radio and Television Commission.

The mission and structure of public television were stipulated in the Act on Media Services and Mass Media (CLXXXV/2010). Public TV broadcasts on four channels. Public media, including the National Radio, the National Television, the Duna Television, and the Hungarian Press Agency, are governed by a body called the Public Service Public Foundation (Közszolgálati Közalapítvány).

The long term licences of the two national commercial channels were awarded by way of public tenders: the proposals included certain promises of a cultural character. Due to the relative decrease in advertising budgets, the cultural content of these media has fallen considerably. However, the new Media Law increased the share of Hungarian (minimum 33.3%) and European (minimum 50%) films; in public media they are 50% and 60%.

In 2015, according to international audience measurement methods http://www.agbnielsen.com/Uploads/Hungary/res_snapshot_2016Q1_eng.pdf, average daily television viewing was 310 minutes in Hungary. In spring 2016 the four channels of the national television (this includes a sport channel) and the two channels of state owned Duna Television attracted a combined 17% share of viewers against 23% of the two large commercial channels, the rest being divided among thematic, movie and entertainment channels. The market is led by the multinationally owned RTL Klub commercial channel.

Changes on the media market are heavily influenced by the political and ideological division in the country. On the one hand, with the rupture of a rich former ally from Fidesz his media outlets (radio, television, press, web portal) turned critical about the government; yet on the other, the major event in 2015 was the buyout of the nationwide commercial channel TV2 from its German owners by a pro-government entrepreneur with credits of a state owned bank.

From July 2014 all media entrepreneurs, including publishers and beneficiaries of open air billboards and internet adverts had to pay sharply progressive tax after their income from advertisements above 500 million HUF a year. RTL Klub made a complaint to the European Commission: while their share of the Hungarian ad market is 12-13%, they are required to pay more than 50% of the entire tax. The tenor of RTL Klub News has turned more critical about the government. As a consequence of the complaint, progressive tax was abolished and as of 2016 above 100 million HUF income 5.3% tax is to be paid.

The public media and the info-communication authority's budget for 2015 has been set at 114.3 billion HUF. Direct support of public media increased to 80.5 billion HUF, a 3.2% growth from 2014 (77.9 billion HUF), although with an allocation amounting to 0.5% of GDP, Hungary spent one of the highest amounts on public broadcasting already in 2012 (Eurostat).  


Chapter published: 08-11-2016

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