BUDAPEST: Hungary's only nationwide opposition radio station Klubradio has won a fresh legal victory obliging the government-friendly media authority to give it a new frequency, the broadcaster's director told AFP.
"This is an opportunity to make peace," Klubradio director Andras Arato said. "The media council now has the option of ending this mess which has been going on for three years."
The latest court ruling, made in November and confirmed in writing late last week, obliges the media council to allow Klubradio to broadcast on the 92.9 FM community radio frequency.
The court thereby rejected an appeal by the powerful media council, a body created in 2010 which Klubradio's supporters say is being misused by the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban to silence dissent.
"If the media council are serious when they say we are partners then they won't appeal this decision but will instead finally award us this frequency," Arato added.
Alternatively, he said, Klubradio could be awarded a long-term licence for 95.3 FM, the frequency it currently broadcasts on, but only on short-term licences which the station says makes attracting advertisers difficult.
A series of previous court decisions have also fallen in Klubradio's favour over this frequency.
With an average 400,000 listeners every day, the 10-year-old outfit is the country's sixth-largest radio station in terms of audience, and the second largest offering news as well as music.
Orban's right-wing government set up the media council, which has consistently denied being politically driven, as part of a controversial media sector overhaul after winning power in elections in 2010.