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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.


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.



Eva Bognar on Why Hungarians View Russia and Ukraine Both Negatively

Our Senior Program Officer and Researcher Eva Bognar talked to the primetime news program of RTL Klub, the TV channel with the largest reach in Hungary, about the impact of government propaganda.

Marius Dragomir on the Consequences of Orban’s Victory

Orban’s landslide victory shows the “dramatic level of manipulation of the Hungarian society by a group of powerful businessmen and politicians” as well as the pro-Russian discourse gaining ground in the past 12 years, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society said to Hungarian weekly 168 Ora.

Eva Bognar on Disinformation in the Hungarian Election Campaign

Before the Hungarian elections, pro-government media employed “smear campaigns and disinformation – narratives that are in favor of and produced by the government,” our Senior Program Officer and Researcher Eva Bognar told the Los Angeles Times.

Marius Dragomir on Media Capture in Hungary

“As soon as Fidesz won the elections in 2010, they embarked on this process of achieving media capture in the country,” Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society told Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Marius Dragomir on the Hungarian Media Situation and the Election Campaign

“Orban knows that many Hungarians are against the war, and he balances: the state media spread pro-Russian propaganda while he speaks against the war in general, but not against Putin,” Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society told El Diario.


New Podcast: Power in the Hands of Journalists

In the third episode of the CMDS podcast series the hosts, Dumitrita Holdis and Justin Spike explore the question whether journalism cooperatives and subscription newsletters will put power back in the hands of journalists.

New CMDS Podcast: Synthesizing Journalism and Art in Belarus and Jordan

In the second episode of the podcast series produced by CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society, the hosts, Dumitrita Holdis and Justin Spike talk about Belarus Free Theatre, and Al-Hudood, two organizations that overcame geographical distances to report on their homes from abroad.

Down, but Not Out – New Podcast by CMDS

The first episode of the new podcast series of CEU Democracy Institute’s Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) addresses political interference and reader solidarity by focusing on the story of