» Mapping digital media

A Global Research Project involving sixty countries by the Open Society Media Program

The Hungarian chapter of the Mapping Digital Media has been published in February 2012 in English on the website of the Open Society Foundation’s Media Program. So far over thirty reports have been released from countries all over the world.

The values that underpin good journalism, the need of citizens for reliable and abundant information, and the importance of such information for a healthy society and robust democracy: these are perennial, and provide compass-bearings for anyone trying to make sense of current changes across the media landscape.

The Mapping Digital Media project, which examines these changes in-depth, aims to build bridges between researchers and policy-makers, activists, academics, and standard- setters across the world. It also builds policy capacity in countries where this is less developed, encouraging stakeholders to participate and influence change. At the same time, this research creates a knowledge base, laying foundations for advocacy work, building capacity and enhancing debate.

The Open Society Media Program has seen how change and continuity affect the media in different places, redefining how they can operate sustainably while staying true to values of pluralism and diversity, transparency and accountability, editorial independence, freedom of expression and information, public service, and high professional standards.

The Mapping Digital Media project assesses, in the light of these values, the global opportunities and risks that are created for media by the following developments: the switchover from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting, growth of new media plat forms as sources of news, and the convergence of traditional broadcasting with telecom munications.

Covering 60 countries, the aim of the MDM project is to examine and assess the impact of how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide, namely news about political, economic and social affairs.

The MDM reports are produced by local researchers and partner organizations in each country. Cumulatively, these reports will provide a much-needed resource on the democratic role and potential of digital media.

In addition to the country reports, the Media Program has commissioned background papers on key topics related to digital media. These papers form the Mapping Digital Media Reference Series. In this series, titles include “Digital Media and Investigative Reporting” (Mark Lee Hunter), “How Television Went Digital in the Netherlands” (Nico van Eijk and Bart van der Sloot) and “Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa” (Iginio Gagliardone and Nicole Stremlau) – just to name a few.

The Hungarian chapter and related events

Mapping Digital Media: Hungary was written after the 2010 media regulation defining the operation of news media. The laws had affected the whole report due to the conditions and schedule of digital switchover, the access to unbiased and plural information and journalism. The 2010 media regulation has been modified several times. The manuscript of the Hungarian report was finalized on January 5, 2012 by the author, Borbala Toth. Since then, the media regulation has been further modified tackling several recommendations of the country report, which are obviously not reflected in the report itself.

The Hungarian chapter is connected to the professional debate in Hungary. The Center for Independent Journalism organized several roundtable discussions related to the report including the legal modifications. Further events are to be organized by the Center for Independent Journalism with its partners about the key issues of digital media and journalism in conferences and roundtable discussions. We will report about these on the website.

Information and publication about the international project are accessible on the website of Mappingdigitalmedia.org and Mediapolicy.org, but also on Facebook.com/mediapolicy.

The Mapping Digital Media: Hungary can be downloaded from our website in English and in Hungarian.