Media fund MTVA probed over public data abuse

Police are investigating the Public Media Asset Management Fund (MTVA) for suspected abuse of public data after it was forced to disclose financial details surrounding the expensive  flop soap opera about investigative journalists “Marslakók” (Martians).

Átlátszó had requested information on payments and invoices from the daily drama show’s production company Marslakók Produkciós Kft via a freedom of information application (FOIA) in August 2012. The FOIA also asked for the contract that dealt with the cessation of the show. The MTVA received the request but did not reply to it. The resulting lawsuit saw Átlátszó win in the court of first instance and again at the court of second instance in August 2013. Átlátszó initiated a petition for the MTVA to publish the data when the verdict became legally binding, 15 days later.

The MTVA eventually posted some of the data it had been ordered to make public on its own website; which showed that the makers of the programme had been given a HUF 80 million retainer after it was axed. The data also reveal that the first series of “Marslakók” cost HUF 900 million (HUF 1.14 billion including VAT).  Budapest District I police department are carrying out the investigation.

The original article was published on 14 November 2014 in Hungarian. Edited by Dan Nolan.