European impacts on the development of the media systems in Central- and Eastern Europe

The regime transition of 1989/1990 also marked the onset of a new era for the media systems in the Central and Eastern European countries. The systems underwent fundamental changes, such as the transformation of state media into public service media and the creation of previously non-existent media markets. The unspoken political and social consensus at this time was to create the framework for a free, independent and diverse public sphere in the media. Yet at the same time, new political forces recognised the media as instruments they could use to further their political agendas.

Only in recent years did certain manifestations of the crisis that had previously characterised other countries of the Central and Eastern European region also emerge in the Visegrád states. The withdrawal of market investors; the emergence of media entrepreneurs with close ties to politics; political control of public service media; state interventions that distort the operations of the media market; and making the journalists’ legal situation uncertain. Although the instruments and their efficiency have differed, the recent media policy developments in all these countries have begun to exhibit some combination of these indications of crisis.

An important lesson of these processes is that the dozen or so years in the European Union have not strengthened the plural media system in the region, in fact they have undermined it. For the time being, the European Union lacks an effective response to the phenomena that threaten media freedom and access to accurate and diverse information.

In order for us to summarise the lessons of the media transformation process thus far, to analyse the crisis symptoms that jeopardise the positive achievements of this process, and to offer a possibility for rethinking a joint European set of media policy and regulatory instruments that could serve as proper safeguards of media freedom, we would like to kindly invite you to our conference on

 

European impacts on the development of the media systems in Central- and Eastern Europe

 

The conference will be held on 20 of June, 2016 at the Embassy of Germany (1014 Budapest, Úri u. 64-66.) and on 21 of June, 2016 at ‘E III.’ lecture hall of Corvinus University (1093 Budapest, Fővám tér 8.)

 

This conference is part of a project on European Media Regulation funded by the State Government of North-Rhine-Westphalia, and is also part of a Visegrad Fund project on media transition in the Visegrad Countries.

The speakers at the conferences are widely recognised European experts on the topic of media regulation, researchers, journalists and representatives of civil society organisations. Their presentations will be followed by open discussion.

Attendance is free, but registration is required, so please register by 15th June 2016 at kovacs.ildiko@mertek.eu so that we can arrange for your attendance at the conference.