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Media and Technology

Independent media is a pillar of democracy and key to sustaining healthy political engagement and public debate. The Institute extends CEU’s existing research into transparency and public trust in media, the origins and impact of disinformation, and power dynamics that enable or hinder democratic processes. The Institute deepens CEU’s work examining strategies deployed by de-democratizing forces to control media, how changes of ownership structures influence the scope of independent journalism, and how new rules on privacy and freedom of speech impact public debate. 

The Institute also incorporates the Center for Media, Data and Society, founded in 2004 for the study of media, communication, and information policy and its impact on society and practice. Conducted through independent investigation as well as partnerships with academic organizations, think tanks and journalists, the center’s research includes analysis of political, regulatory and policy developments, comparative and data-based studies on the shifts of power in media and journalism, and the interaction between these developments and broader political and social processes, including de-democratization, polarization and corruption. Members of CMDS participate in debates and forums, share expertise with practitioners, researchers and civil society actors, and teach and explain media policy in workshops, lectures and conferences. 

Within this research area, the Democracy Institute has partnered with Ranking Digital Rights to create the Democracy & Digital Technology CoLab to explore the impact of digital platforms and technologies on democratic participation and processes.

Researchers

Eva Bognar

Senior Program Officer, Center for Media, Data and Society

Marius Dragomir

Senior Program Manager, Center for Media, Data and Society

Dumitrita Holdis

Project Officer, Center for Media, Data and Society

 

Research Projects

Impact of ownership structures on democracy and media

Researcher: Marius Dragomir

This project aims to study globally the new forms of ownership and financial concentration in the media and technology field.

Uncovering Media Influence in the UK

Researchers: Eva BognarDumitrita Holdis

The project is part of the Media Influence Matrix project that investigates the profound influence that rapid shifts in policy, sources of funding and technology companies in the public sphere are having on journalism today. The project seeks to research the changing media landscape of the United Kingdom in three fields: government and policy space, with a focus on the changes in the policy and regulatory environment; funding, with a focus on the key funding sources of journalism and the impact on editorial coverage; technology in the public sphere, with a focus on how technology companies, through activities such as automation and algorithm-based content distribution, impact news media and journalism. The project is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. 

Journalism Breakthroughs

Researchers: Eva BognarDumitrita Holdis

The project is aimed at methodically collecting data and information about innovation in journalism globally. The project includes the research of the potential audience of such content and the development of a concept of a journalism innovation clinic. The project is funded by the Open Society Foundations. 

Strengthening quality news and independent journalism in the Western Balkans and Turkey

Researcher: Eva Bognar  

The aim of the project is to enhance media trust among citizens and create a safe environment for journalists to produce independent news content through training, mentoring, technical and financial support, and publishing. The project is funded by the European Commission's EuropeAid program. 

Digital News Report (with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford)

Researcher: Eva Bognar 

Eva Bognar is part of the research team that produces The Digital News Report: an annual research publication of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University that surveys and analyzes the trends of news consumption habits and attitudes of digital news consumers across 40 countries. Some of the main themes of the project is trust in media, and news audiences' attitudes towards and knowledge about misinformation. 

The representation of contested issues and vulnerable groups in the media

Researcher: Eva Bognar  

A publication on the representation of the quota-debate in Hungary is coming out with Endre Sik (Hungarian Academy of Sciences). Further research is to be conducted on the concept of “moral panic button” in relation to the Hungarian governments’ techniques to manipulate public opinion, including the analysis of the Hungarian media landscape as the backdrop of such strategies. These studies are closely related to media capture and pluralism. 

The contribution of media to the democratization and de-democratization of Central and Eastern European societies: 1990-2020

Researchers: Marius DragomirEva Bognar

A series of studies looking at the role of media and journalism in the process of democratization in post-communist Europe.

 

Marius Dragomir on the Pegasus Scandal

The Pegasus investigation “shows us the extent to which governments break the law and interfere with journalists’ work,” Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society said to Euractiv.

Eva Bognar Interviewed About Trust in the Media

The COVID-19 pandemic increased trust in media worldwide but not so much in Hungary, Eva Bognar, Senior Program Officer and Researcher of the CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society said in an interview on the radio program of Media1 on Spirit FM.

Eva Bognar and Judit Szakacs Presented Study to European Parliament

Our Center for Media, Data and Society’s Judit Szakacs and Eva Bognar presented their study on the impact of foreign disinformation campaigns about minorities and migrants for the European Parliament’s INGE Committee.

Marius Dragomir on Media in Slovakia

Media Influence Matrix, the research project of CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society was featured in Balkan Insight.

Judit Szakacs, Eva Bognar: The Impact of Disinformation Campaigns About Migrants and Minority Groups in the EU

Our Center for Media, Data and Society’s Judit Szakacs and Eva Bognar authored a study for the European Parliament’s INGE Committee on the impact of foreign disinformation campaigns about minorities and migrants.

Marius Dragomir in Parliamentary Hearing in the UK

Marius Dragomir, Director of the CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) attended a UK parliamentary group briefing to discuss shifts in policy, funding and technology that influence journalism and the future of public service media in the face of politicized appointments and privatization.

Eva Bognar on Trust in the Media

This year’s Reuters Institute Digital News Report finds that the demand for reliable, accurate news sources increased but publishers face increasing economic pressure. Eva Bognar, Senior Program Officer and Researcher of the CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society wrote the chapter on Hungary.

New Podcast: Hybrid Journalism

In the final episode of the CMDS podcast series Down, but Not Out Dumitrita Holdis and Justin Spike discuss with Monia ben Hamadi, editor-in chief of Inkyfada and CMDS Director Marius Dragomir an increasingly popular funding strategy for small, independent media organizations: hybrid business models.

Judit Szakacs et al: Disinformation and Propaganda: Impact on the Functioning of the Rule of Law and Democratic Processes in the EU and Its Member States

Judit Szakacs, Outreach Coordinator of our Center for Media, Data and Society co-authored a European Parliament study, which was peer-reviewed by our Research Affiliate Petra Bard.

New Podcast: When Journalists Organize and Take Back the Newsroom

In the fifth episode of the CMDS podcast series, Andrea Gálvez, a journalist based in Argentina, takes over and tells the story of Tiempo Argentino's rebirth as a journalistic cooperative.