Media Services and Support Trust Fund (MTVA)

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MTVA headquarters in Budapest.

In December 2010, National Assembly representatives from the FideszChristian Democratic People’s Party alliance passed a law establishing the Media Services and Support Trust Fund (Médiaszolgáltatás-támogató és Vagyonkezelő Alap, or MTVA) in order to manage the operations and assets of the country’s four state-run media—Hungarian Radio, Hungarian Television, Duna Television and the Hungarian News Agency (see National Assembly voting results in Hungarian).

The law merging the state-owned and operated media into MTVA provided the Hungarian News Agency (MTI) with the “exclusive right” to produce programming for Hungarian Radio, Hungarian Television and Duna Television (see text of law in English). Prior to their merger into MTVA, Hungarian Radio, Hungarian Television and Duna Television had produced their own programming independently.

The state Media Council (Médiatanács) of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság) manages MTVA and appoints the organization’s director (source in English).

An eight-member board of trustees called the Public Service Public Foundation (Közszolgálati Közalapítvány) appoints the directors of Hungarian Radio, Hungarian Television, Duna Television and MTI (source in English). The National Assembly governing coalition and opposition each appoint three members to the Public Service Public Foundation, while the Media Council appoints the president and one other member to this board of trustees (source in English).

The Orbán government claims that the merger of Hungarian Radio, Hungarian Television, Duna Television and the Hungarian News Agency into MTVA increases efficiency and decreases operating costs (source in English). Critics assert that the incorporation of all state-operated media into a single organization has transformed them into a propaganda mechanism for the Orbán government (source in Hungarian).

Newly appointed Hungarian News Agency CEO Csaba Belénessy said in December 2010: “A public-service journalist cannot be the enemy of the government, he or she cannot question the authority of the freely elected cabinet. It can’t be done that we accept a position and then turn against the employer” (source in Hungarian).

Miklós Vaszily currently serves as the interim director of the Media Services and Support Trust Fund.

Last updated: May 25, 2016.