Rudas: Politics not an issue in RTL talks

History

RTL Group never negotiated with the Hungarian government on the details of the advertisement tax, but only informed the government that the measure is discriminative and hurts competition, according to Andreas Rudas (pictured), the RTL Group executive who is said to be acting as RTL Klub CEO on a temporary basis, until Dirk Gerkens’ replacement is found.

In an interview published by Hungarian online daily hvg.hu this morning, Rudas insisted that neither Gerkens’ position nor the content of RTL Klub’s news show were the subject of negotiations between the Hungarian government and RTL Group. “It makes me laugh when the press keeps saying how we made a pact and how we negotiated,” Rudas said in the interview. Rudas also rejected speculation that he met and negotiated with Cabinet Chief János Lázár.

Rudas claimed that any negotiations that took place between the channel and the Hungarian government focused only on economic topics, and political topics were never brought up by the two parties.

According to Rudas, RTL Group never made suggestions about the volume of the advertisement tax, but did say that the tax was discriminative and not only hurt RTL Klub, but others as well.

Rudas said Gerkens left the channel for several reasons: “Gerkens had been leading the channel for 14 years, and the hassle over the advertisement tax was exhausting him” Rudas said. He added that, as Gerkens’ life was threatened many times forcing him to move his family out of the country, the best solution was for him to leave the CEO position.

Rudas is said to be filling RTL Klub’s CEO position for two months until the new CEO is chosen.

According to earlier press reports, he and Lázár met to discuss a reduction in the advertising tax, which put RTL alone in the highest tax bracket. According to many reports on those meetings, RTL Group discussed a reduction of critical coverage on RTL Klub in exchange for a lower tax.

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