First studies of Mediadelcom get ready

First two sets of studies by Mediadelcom are getting ready. The studies have already been presented to the European Commission as an interim report, but for the general public the improved and edited version will be published in July 2022.

The first country case studies aim at the media research capabilities of each country to indicate the health of media and deliberative communication. Mediadelcom project coordinator Halliki Harro-Loit said in the Podcast episode #12 that not much of it has yet been researched in Europe.

“Each country has mapped out what kind of research sources and what kind of data is available in four domains in the 21st century. The question – who collects analysis and creates knowledge about the risks of deliberative communication – is also very important for our project. We studied what media researchers, various public agencies, private companies, single researchers have done and published. The level of accessibility of the data and analysis is also important. And of course, what is the quality of the data collected: to what extent and who has been financing research and monitoring, if at all. In some countries, the financing is pretty poor.

Of course, we asked whether this data collection and research has been random or systematic. The monitoring potentiality is very important because the main risks associated with media and deliberative communication appear in small daily changes. The absence of mechanisms to monitor the daily application of fundamental values for deliberative communication is critical because we may lose these values so quietly. Small practice-shifts are easily normalized and there is a risk that the society may wake up when it is too late to reverse these small changes and their normalization. Hence, our first case studies are designed to identify the areas where, for various reasons, there is a knowledge cap, no data collection and no attention towards certain risks.”

Marcus Kreutler has been the leader of the first case study task force. He said, “We had a number of countries that mentioned the huge importance that even single, e.g., EU financed project has had on the research landscape in the area. Estonia and Latvia come to mind, for example. They have mentioned several EU projects that really improved the data that has been assembled on that country. And at the same time, for example, Slovakia mentioned that relatively little participation in such international comparative projects would also prefigure a risk.”

Halliki Harro-Loit added, “That’s why the diachronic dimension is actually important because, to be part of any comparative project, you need to have qualified scientist and data analysts. That is why those having less resources will lag behind. While our comparative analysis, we need to pay attention to the reasons for some countries lagging behind even in cases of European comparative projects.” The Podcast episode #12 provides more detailed deliberations upon the first case studies. The second case studies focus on the state of art under the four domains developed within the Mediadelcom project. As for the initial purposes, the studies appear to be lengthy and descriptive and, thus, need to go though a thorough process of editing and reshape to make them easily readable and comparable by countries. All reports under WP2 are going to be public in July 2022. Up to then, the subsequent podcast episodes will cover the findings, country by country.

Picture: Pixabay

Four Shades of Censorship: Report on state intervention in the Central Eastern European media markets

The paper ‘Four Shades of Censorship’ presents the results of the project “Good practice sharing for a more open and transparent media across developing democracies in CEE”. The project, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, aims to provide a comprehensive picture of media policy processes in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, based on up-to-date data.

The project was led by (HU), and involved MediaForum (CZ), ActiveWatch (RO) and MEMO 98 (SK).

The research pays special attention to the specificities of the media market and the situation of journalism, and analyses the legal environment not only on the basis of legislation but also on the basis of the practice of law enforcement. In contrast to other media policy analyses, the most important specificity of the research is that it focuses on the collection and processing of primary data instead of the secondary processing of expert interviews and literature sources. With its broad methodological background, it provides an evidence-based report that is a relevant starting point for media policy decisions by industry, government and the European Union.

The cumulative impact of the media policies of the past years in the CEE countries (and in Hungary in particular) has resulted in a comprehensive transformation of the media systems. This has gone hand in hand with the weakening of the safeguards of media freedom and a contraction in the room for manoeuvre of independent media practitioners and outlets. On the basis of our research it is clear that this process rests on three pillars: (1) the undermining of the independence of the organisations responsible for overseeing private and public media; (2) the manipulation of access to the market resources necessary for media market activities; and (3) the manipulation of the information environment by controlling the access to public information and the political agenda (political interference to the PSM).

The countries under review, Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, share a number of similarities, mainly due to their historical and geographical position. Despite the similarities, the four countries offer significantly different boundary conditions for media freedom and the functioning of media market players. This is also reflected in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index.

Figure: Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index (Source: The Report, p. 7.)

Mertek Media Monitor is also a partner in Mediadelcom project.

Download the report

Coming up online conference: The pocketed media system – Not so soft censorship in Central-Eastern Europe

For the past year, Mertek Media Monitor (Hungary, a partner also for the Mediadelcom) has been led by Memo98 (Slovakia), MediaForum (Czechia) and ActiveWatch (Romania) to examine the media policies of these four countries.

They all used the same methods to analyse the phenomena of the media system. The researchers were looking for answers to questions such as
how do state advertising appear in the media market?
what is the system, financing and content of public service media?
how difficult is it to get information as a journalist?
is there evidence of bias in the media authority?

The coming up is the closing event of the research. Thus, the organizers urge to join it and be informed about the results and the policy recommendations. The event will be held in English. The research was funded by National Endowment for Democracy.

When: 29th of June 2021. 10:00 (CEST, UTC+2)
Where:  Zoom
Registration: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5tvwSmLJSZiRCtm84lekEg

Report on sustainable journalism in Sub-Saharan Africa to be launched

The Embassy of Sweden in South-Africa together with partners will arrange a seminar launching a policy brief developed by a team of Swedish and African researchers and media practitioners who have jointly examined how independent journalism can be not only a leverage for democracy but also contribute to sustainable societies. And how media itself can develop new models for its own sustainability. One of these partners is also the MEDIADELCOM consortium member – Jönköping Universty, Sweden.

Meet the rapporteurs and follow the discussions around a new way of looking at journalism – called sustainable journalism, discussing about the future of journalism in a society marked by a lack of sustainability. Mark your calendars to watch the seminar online, held on Friday, 23 September 2021 between 14:00 – 15:00 hrs CEST/SAST Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Pretoria (UTC+2).

Online transmissions in social-media channels, in @fojo_int, and #SwedenInSA .

.