|I got word from my friend and colleague Akos Maroy about the disturbing and angering situation at Tilos Radio in Budapest. Tilos Radio is a deeply cool alternative station, something akin to Radio 1 here in Prague. Akos works on its Internet presence, including a webcast served from San Francisco.|
The Hungarian National Radio and Television Authority has rescinded Tilos Radio’s license for 30 days because a radio presenter insulted Christians, the BBC reports.
The pressure to close Tilos Radio comes from right-wing groups, and follows an incident during a protest in front of the Tilos offices where an Israeli flag was burned, leading to an official diplomatic protest by the Israelis.
Akos calls the closure a “yellow card” for Tilos Radio, explaining that now that a written reprimand has been issued, the authorities can rescind the license for any reason in the future. The closure is the harshest in Hungarian history, as similar closures have only been for one day, he adds.
He pins Tilos’ closure on “political games, mainly. The right wing has successfully built up a mass hysteria on this issue, and as the body making the decisions is made up of five delegates from different political parties (as a result of the media law), obviously they make political decisions.”
“This is all amidst the birth and emergence of a new political party called “For a better Hungary” (in Hungarian this goes: “For a righter Hungary”, and actually starts with the word “righter” – get the point), who were staging crude wooden crosses all over the country in public spaces before christmas. This was highly debated throughout the country, even by clerics of the religious establishment. The same program in which the unspeakable sentences emerged, debated this very issue 2 weeks earlier, obviously angering this group. They are one of the fiercest groups fighting against Tilos now,” Akos wrote in an email to me.
“Funny thing is, in November 2002, the leader of this very group was a guest at a program in radio Tilos. At that time, they were just organizing themselves in the form of university student groups around the country. As political issues are banned from educational institutions, their groups were banned from about every university and college, save the reformationist church’s university. And we invited them to talk about their troubles, when not much media gave them possibilities to speak. And now, they want to silence us,” he continues.
“So much for freedom of speech and related media issues…”