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Eva Bognar, Dumitrita Holdis, Robert Nemeth et al.: Independent Journalism in Contexts of Shrinking Civic Space

new publication by Free Press Unlimited features case studies written by Eva Bognar, Senior Program Officer and Researcher at our Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS), our Communications Officer Robert Nemeth, and CMDS' Project Officer Dumitrita Holdis.

The case study written by Eva Bognar and Robert Nemeth, entitled ‘A Tale of Many Towns: How a Hungarian Watchdog NGO Widens its Outreach’ covers a project of Atlatszo (‘transparent’), Hungary’s first investigative journalism non-profit, to reach audiences in rural Hungary. They describe media capture in Hungary, characterized by a lack of independent local media in the countryside, meaning rural audiences have little exposure to news that do not follow the government’s narrative. This is the problem that Atlatszo’s Orszagszerte (‘all over the country’) project aims to address.

Dumitrita Holdis contributed with two case studies. In the first one, entitled ‘Political scandal and the use of provocation as a tool for journalists: The case of small local media taking on political leaders in Romania,’ she explores the relation between activism and independent journalism in the case of a Romanian media outlet Liber in Teleorman (‘free in Teleorman’). Upon its launch in 2014, it was as much an activist endeavor as a journalistic one, with a provocative and opiniated style and grassroots organizing, which posed a complicated ethical dilemma for journalists.

Her second case study, entitled ‘Institutionalizing progressive media in Transylvania: The case of Atlatszo Erdely’ covers Atlatszo Erdely, a Hungarian-language media outlet in Romania. Situated in a minority-language media landscape dominated by party interests, Atlatszo Erdely faces many challenges such as financial instability and lack of cooperation with Romanian organizations. Yet five years after its inception, Atlatszo Erdely is successful and growing. It has recognized the importance of reaching out to demographics beyond their immediate core audience, and its future will now depend on the ability of these networks to sustain its members and to facilitate the building of progressive institutions for both the Romanian and Hungarian community.

Download the full publication here.

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