Tibor Kuna and Gyula Balásy big winners in government media buy

May 19, 2017

Media companies close to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party did well in the National Communication Office’s HUF 24.7 billion (USD 88 million) tender.  Surprisingly, propaganda minister Antal Rogán’s Pasa Park neighbor, Csaba Csetényi (above left), only got a small slice of the pie this year.

The National Communication Office held a tender during the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.  The results were announced on Thursday along with those of other European Union public procurement tenders.  Not surprisingly, the HUF 24.7 billion framework amount was primarily awarded to companies whose owners are linked to prominent Fidesz politicians.

The main winners of last year’s tenders were Tibor Kuna (above right), a friend of foreign minister Péter Szijjártó, and Gyula Balásy.  Kuna’s companies, Trinity International Communications Kft. and Young & Partners Kft., were awarded HUF 10.37 billion (USD 37 million) worth of contracts together with a third company.  Recent contracts include one for HUF 6.36 billion (USD 23 million) to handle communications in 2017 for the Hungarian state-owned electricity company (MVM), and a HUF 3 billion (USD 11 million) contract to handle communications relating to the 2017 water world championships Budapest is hosting in July, to mention but a few.

Balásy’s communications companies performed especially well. His New Land Media Kft. and Lounge Design Kft. were awarded contracts totaling HUF 14.18 billion (USD 51 million), including one of nearly HUF 1 billion (USD 3.6 million) from the Hungarian Postal Service to handle its communications, and a HUF 3 billion (USD 11 million) contract to act as a media agent for the Hungarian Touristic Agency at home and abroad.  The Hungarian National Bank (MNB) awarded New Land Media a HUF 450 million (USD 1.6 million) communications contract in March.  The office of the prime minister’s cabinet, the ministry within a ministry headed by former Budapest District 5 mayor Antal Rogán, also awarded contracts to the companies in the amount of HUF 7.87 billion (USD 28 million) and HUF 1.94 billion (USD 7 million).

The main beneficiary of the government’s profligate and largely xenophobic media spending in 2015 and 2016, Csaba Csetényi’s Network 360 Kft. and Affiliate Network, were reportedly awarded contracts by MVM Paps II Zrt. and the New Generation Central Nonprofit Kft. in the amounts of HUF 138.4 million (USD 500,000) and HUF 26.58 million (USD 95,000), respectively.  This is a mere fraction of the contracts Rogán lavished on his neighbor subsequent to being elevated to propaganda minister in October, 2015.