Archive item

Title: Mapping Digital Media: Hungary
Other/original title:
Publisher: Open Society Foundations
Files: Mapping Digital Media - Hungary.pdf
Abstract: This is the Hungarian country report in the series of Open Society Foundations publications on "Mapping Digital Media," which covers countries around the world. The series assesses the opportunities and risks that are created for media by the switch-over from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting; the growth of new media platforms as sources of news; and the convergence of traditional broadcasting with telecommunications. This report on Hungary examines the relation between digital media and media consumption, public service broadcasting, society, journalism, and technology, as well as digital business and policies, laws and regulators. The report observes that the new media laws have dramatically changed Hungary's regulatory and legal framework, creating a new media authority (the NMHH) whose members are in effect appointed by the ruling party and whose scope of powers is unprecedented in European democracies, extending across the media landscape to include "online written media outlets" and "printed press materials”. The laws applied similar content provisions to audiovisual, print and online media alike, as well as registration requirements for all media, including online outlets. They also introduced a government-controlled news agency monopoly, and changed the governance, management, editorial oversight and funding mechanism of Hungary’s public broadcasters. The absence of specific criteria in the laws for the allocation of frequencies leaves the NMHH's Media Council ample room for arbitrary and politically motivated decisions, the report argues, demonstrated by the case of Klubrádio. In addition, the report notes, the government "has failed to develop a coherent action plan for digital switchover, changing the date [..] three times over the course of 18 months." Beyond these conclusions about the new media laws, the report notes "the emergence of online-inspired civic activism", the decline in newspaper readership due to the economic crisis and the growth of the internet, and the distortion of the media market by indirect, selective funding of media outlets through state advertising.
Publication/ adoption date: 2012-01-05
Language: English
Rights: Open Society Foundations, shared under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 license as per