Members of Hungary’s National Media and News Broadcast Authority (NMHH) reportedly vacation in a four-star luxury hotel in the resort town of Héviz for want of a retreat of their very own. The state media holding company has signed a three-year, HUF 197 million (USD 768,000) contract with Hotel Carbona, reports Magyar Nemzet.
According to the NMHH, the arrangement was necessitated by the authority not having its own vacation property (as many governmental and state-run institutions do), allegedly being more economical than purchasing such a property. Responding to questions from the conservative daily, NMHH said it received bids from three different hotels, and Hotel Carbona was selected based on its favorable price despite ranking among Hungary’s most expensive and exclusive resort hotels.
“Holidays can be requested by colleagues who have been in a service/working relationship with the authority for at least one year. The available places are advertised quarterly on the authority’s internal portal, and a social committee decides on the granting of holiday possibilities,” NMHH told Magyar Nemzet.
This was not the first occasion the authority tasked with ensuring a diverse and independent media environment has contracted with Hotel Carbona. The National Radio and Television Board concluded a similar contract back in 2000 when a year’s services cost HUF 35 million (USD 175,000).
Magyar Nemzet notes that the owner of Hotel Carbona is real estate investment lawyer Gábor Bálintfy, one of Hungary’s wealthiest persons and previous owner of the now-defunct Parlament TV. Former Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) and Fidesz MP György Csóti sits on the hotel’s supervisory board.
The ostensively independent media monitoring authority, all of whose directors are Fidesz appointees, received HUF 35.3 billion this year from the central budget. This year alone NMHH has reportedly awarded some 70 contracts exceeding HUF 5 million (USD 19,500), the minimum amount requiring public procurement.