Laura on Tue, 7 Mar 2000 16:55:50 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> tilos radio (budapest) in danger

Hungarian liberal radio station forced off the air

Like the cyanide that poisoned central Europe's rivers last month, the
Haider effect is moving down the Danube from Vienna to Budapest. While
Hungary's voice of liberal youth is to be silenced, the xenophobic clamour
of the Austrian Freedom Party's local allies will soon reverberate across
the airwaves. 

The hugely popular, internationally orientated Tilos Radio, which has
grown from a pirate station to a legal operation, must close down, refused
a frequency by the National Radio and Television Board. The board, which
is dominated by nominees from centre-right and far-right parties, also
rejected a joint bid from the BBC, Radio France and Deutsche Welle, and an
application to set up a Roma radio station. 

One station that was successful in gaining one of the 12 licences was
Pannonia Radio, which plans to broadcast only Hungarian music. Its owners
include a city councillor from the far-right Hungarian Justice and Life
Party (MIEP), which openly supports Joerg Haider's Freedom Party. 

The battle over the allocation of radio franchises is the staging ground
for a larger struggle: over the future of Hungary itself, and whether it
will integrate into the West, or allow far-right parties to manoeuvre the
country into a nationalist cul-de-sac. 

The Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, refused to join the sanctions imposed on
Austria by the EU, a decision welcomed by the MIEP's leader, Istvan
Csurka, who, like Mr Haider, opposes EU expansion eastwards, and regularly
rallies supporters with coded expressions of anti-semitism. He says the
knock-on effect of Mr Haider's victory will soon allow the MIEP into

- The Independent

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