Archive item

Title: "Balanced" in the balance
Other/original title:
Publisher: Policy Solutions
Files: Hungarian Politics In-Depth - Balanced in the balance.pdf
Source: Depth_2011_Week10.pdf
Abstract: One of the most criticized elements of the new Hungarian media laws adopted in late 2010 was a requirement for all linear and on-demand media content providers to provide "balanced coverage" (a stipulation that was slightly amended later to exclude on-demand media and apply to linear media "services" rather than "content providers"). The controversy, this analysis from March 2011 by Policy Solutions notes, stemmed from the nebulousness of the term and its application therefore providing "the Media Council with an overbroad mandate to request changes in news production". Policy Solutions, a Hungarian research institute, wanted to find out how the television news broadcasts at the time "fared in terms of politically balancing their reporting," so in February 2011 it reviewed the evening news of the six national TV channels (RTL Klub, TV2, M1, Hír Tv, ATV, Duna TV) in order to find out how these presented the political parties and whether their shows would be likely to meet the balanced coverage requirement. "Our detailed analysis shows that with the notable exception of RTL Klub, the concept of balanced is practically absent from evening news," the analysis concludes: "politicians of [the governing] Fidesz-KDNP are the absolute rulers among those asked to speak". Whereas "reports unfavourable for Fidesz or the government are almost completely absent in TV news, the overwhelming majority of news concerning the [oppositional] Socialist Party .. casts a bad light on the party". The two other opposition parties, Jobbik and the LMP, could not "count on any distinguished attention from the mainstream outlets". Public television news did not stand out in these trends, showing a similar "vast dominance .. of government politicians".
Publication/ adoption date: 2011-03-13
Language: English
Rights: Policy Solutions. Permission for reproducing the document granted by email.