Hungary nets facing fines

TV2, RTL Klub found to have disregarded media laws

BUDAPEST — Hungary’s broadcast regulating body, the National Radio and Television Board (ORTT), has levied fines of $1.5 million each against the territory’s top commercial networks for failing to devote 6% of advertising rev to the production of Hungarian-made features.

Nets TV2, controlled by northern Euro broadcaster SBS through the Hungarian-based joint venture MTM-SBS, and RTL Klub, whose major shareholder is TV giant RTL Group, were fined because neither had complied with media laws.

ORTT based its ruling on an investigation of the budget of both for the 2001 and 2002 season.

The decision comes as a shock to Hungary’s media industry, given the high-profile nature of the two commercial networks in the nation’s feature business.

TV2 was a co-producer of the hit movie “Kontroll,” and has offered direct sponsorship to the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation. RTL Klub co-produced the 2004 theatrical release “Szezon,” and according to network programming chief Peter Kolosi, has plans to take a larger role in film production in the future.

TV2 reps issued a statement saying they will appeal the ruling; executives at RTL Klub stated they are waiting to receive and inspect the ruling in writing before deciding on a response.

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