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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 Russian Propaganda in Hungary

At the moment it is difficult to separate Hungarian government propaganda from Russian propaganda, our Senior Program Officer Eva Bognar told

Eva Bognar on the Similarities Between Putin’s Russia and Orbán’s Hungary

“There are really alarming similarities” between Putin’s Russia and Orban’s Hungary, our Senior Program Officer Eva Bognar told Yahoo News.

Marius Dragomir on Viktor Orban’s Balancing Act over the Ukraine War

In a commentary published in six languages, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) looks at why Hungarian Prime Minister Orban speaks out against the war in Ukraine while ordering his media to spread pro-Russian disinformation.

Marius Dragomir: Journalism and War: Bracing for Impact

Many journalists expect a fall in advertising revenue, the closure of media outlets and increasing government control over the media as a consequence of the war in Ukraine, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) writes in his new report.

Marius Dragomir on Russian Propaganda in Hungary

“Hungary is the only country where from the very first hours of the war the pro-government media was totally spreading pro-Russian, pro-Kremlin propaganda,”  Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society said to Euractiv.


Marius Dragomir on the War in Ukraine and Disinformation

In this video, Marius Dragomir, Director of our Center for Media, Data and Society discusses media information and disinformation amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Democracy’s Least Appreciated Strength Is Its Ability to Reform Itself

In conversation with RevDem editor Robert Nemeth, Dean Starkman, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, talks about the Pandora Papers and how tax avoidance and secrecy endangers democracy.

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.

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.

New Podcast: On How to Launch a Paywall in 2002 and Live to Tell the Story

In the fourth episode of the CMDS podcast series the hosts, Dumitrita Holdis and Justin Spike introduce Malaysiakini, one of Malaysia’s most popular news sites.