Media Authority study finds an increase in negative news coverage of Roma

Compared with the previous six months, the Hungarian media’s coverage of Roma grew quantitatively more negative in the first half of 2012, while there were fewer negative stories about political migrants, according to an analysis by the Media Authority (NMHH).

The latest analysis is part of the Media Authority’s semi-annual investigation of coverage of vulnerable groups, according to a report by Hungarian news agency MTI on January 24. The analysis looked at nine public service TV news and political programs and 10 such programs on commercial television and radio, featuring approximately 100,000 different people, including presenters and subjects.

The analysis found that compared to the previous half year, the proportion of news stories in which Roma were mentioned in connection with crimes increased by 5 percent, which means that nearly 24 percent of the total news reporting on Roma spotlighted alleged crimes by Roma citizens. Meanwhile, the analysis found that the share of negative reports about political migrants had dramatically decreased, from 62.5 percent to 18.5 percent, as coverage of political migrants shifted away from crime stories and more toward foreign policy issues, MTI reported.

According to the Media Authority’s data, the proportion of coverage given to gender did not reflect the overall gender proportions in Hungarian society: Even though more than 52 percent of the Hungarian population is female, the news reports were found to show men roughly 80 percent of the time.