, BUDAPEST, Jun 21 – Hungary’s media council has fined a radio station 250,000 forints (875 euros, $1,100) for poking fun at endangered species, saying it set a bad example to children, it emerged Thursday.
Presenters on Neo FM’s satirical show “Boomerang” had quipped in February that the extinction of the panda “wouldn’t bother anyone since all they do is sit around and eat,” while Galapagos tortoises “have lived long enough anyway.”
But the comments have come back to haunt the station, with an ecologist non-governmental organisation filing a complaint with the powerful media council, which duly handed down the fine — and with no right to appeal.
“The presenters are not allowed to behave in a way that is not exemplary to children,” the council said in its ruling, published on June 6 but only picked up on Thursday by one of Hungary’s best-known politics blogs, Velemenyvezer.
The blog said the “absurd affair” confirmed its “worst fears” about the media council after conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has been accused of eroding democracy in Hungary, reformed it and stuffed it with party loyalists.