Emmis to appeal ICSID decision on Sláger Rádió – if possible

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In response to a decision made against now-defunct Sláger Rádió by US-based International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) last week, representatives of the station’s owner Emmis Communications yesterday stated that the company “will explore other venues for appeal of the unlawful taking of the station” by the Hungarian government – should “any other viable forums exist,” that is.

We are incredibly frustrated to be denied this international forum to remedy the egregious acts of the Hungarian government,” read in part an earlier statement by Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan. “While the Hungarian government may have prevailed in this purely jurisdictional decision, unfortunately, the real losers are the Hungarian people.”

According to Emmis, the US-based company had invested some $170 million in Hungary over the 12 years of Sláger’s operation and another $1.8 million has been spent on legal fees in Hungary alone.

ICSID last Wednesday ruled in favor of the state of Hungary in a dispute with radio station Sláger Rádió regarding the legal authority of a 2009 decision not to renew the station’s frequency. Sláger Rádió sought ICSID arbitration for the station’s objection to the 2009 decision of ORTT (predecessor to current media authority NMHH) to award Sláger’s frequency license to Neo FM and was suing for some $83.3 million.

Yesterday, Emmis officials promised to “evaluate over the coming weeks whether any other viable forums exist” in order to appeal the decision.

Indianapolis-based Emmis operates some 22 radio stations in the US.

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