Congressional Resolution Rips Hungary For Lifting Emmis Radio License
December 10, 2009 at 4:57 AM (PT)
Congress has passed a resolution condemning HUNGARY's pulling of EMMIS COMMUNICATIONS' license for national radio station SLAGER RADIO. The non-binding measure pulled in bipartisan support, passing by a 333-74 vote. Radio regulator ORTT awarded the license to a competing bidder, FM1, which EMMIS notes is connected to a political party. Another national station, RADIO DANUBIUS, also had its license taken and given to a politically connected bidder, with the winning bidders in both cases offering the government a much higher share of revenues in exchange for the licenses.
Rep. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), supporting the measure, said, "U.S. and other foreign investors deserve equitable treatment in accordance with Hungarian law. It bears mentioning that the UNITED STATES is the fourth-largest contributor to foreign investment in HUNGARY and the largest non-European source of investment. The United States has invested over nine billion dollars in HUNGARY since 1989.
"Unfair treatment of foreign companies will deter investment and hinder economic growth, while upholding the rule of law and promoting a free and independent press -- as we urge in this resolution -- would instead spur investor confidence."
The Hungarian Embassy issued a response that said ORTT operates independently of the government, which cannot influence its decisions.