A government declaration was published on Friday in Magyar Közlöny concerning advertising space, which determines the process of last years’ law of settlement structure protection’s execution, as Index spotted.
The declaration signed by Viktor Orbán claims that in 30 days, new advertisements can only be placed with the permission of the municipalities, and only those advertisement spaces can remain after 2021 that satisfy the new government regulation.
- For example, they cannot be larger than 9 square meters; the advertising space can have holders maximum 11 square meters large (currently a typical billboard is 12 square meters with holders of 14 square meters).
- Posters cannot be sticked anywhere else but public education advertising columns. (For example museums and theatres can place such pillars).
- Only street furniture can be used to publish advertisements in public spaces.
The government practically alters and modifies an entire market branch, and the participants of the market don’t know how to deal with it. Alfa Plakát Ltd.’s owner and manager Péter Szigeti was informed about this declaration when Index called him, but he added: there were gossips about it for weeks.
“We still think that there should be no such harsh interventions in this field, and we will try our best to oppose the execution of this law,” Szigeti told Index.
The problem with the law and its declaration is not that it makes the avoidance from new public advertisement spaces difficult, as only a few new advertisement spaces were established. “The problem is that it changes the entire billboard market and executes a declaration that allows only the companies of ‘buddies’ to advertise in public spaces,” the manager said.
According the attachments of the declaration, only municipal and state owned spaces will be available for advertisement (with the permission of the owner), and hardly any private places or buildings will be permitted the same. However, the current billboard market is structured in a way that out of the 30,000 billboards, 90 percent is located in private territories and 10 percent in municipal places. The law will alter the ratio, so in a couple of years, only the companies can advertise in public spaces which the government allows.
The state attacks Simicska
The piquancy of the declaration is that practically the same concept was in debate in the form of a leaked application. János Lázár admitted later that there was indeed some discussion about the total reformation of billboard market, but it didn’t make it to the Parliament as a bill.
Though the settlement structure protection law justifies the existence of the law by saying that “there is too much noise in advertisement,” it is not difficult to interpret the government’s efforts as attempts to remove personae non-grata from the advertisement market such as Lajos Simicska.
The dormitory roommate of Viktor Orbán and former finance manager of Fidesz is one of the most influential figures in billboard marketing, which did not concern the government until Orbán and Simicska did not get into conflict. Since that time, the government tries to oust its former favorite entrepreneurs.
Another bill was published before the declaration on Friday by which the government tries to prevent Simicska’s companies from providing advertisement spaces for Jobbik under market prices during the election campaign.
Photo: Balázs Béli