Krisztina Nagy, Attila Mong, Gábor Polyák, Ágnes Urbán, Erik Uszkiewicz
Organisation and country:
Mertek Media Monitor, Hungary
Mertek Media Monitor has been examining and analysing the Hungarian media authority's tendering practices since 2011, when the new media legislation in Hungary came into force. The analysis is based on the calls for tenders, decisions and other documents published on the authority's website. Mertek records the most important features of the Media Council's activities and assesses the direct and indirect impact of the tender processes on the media market.
Our analysis is primarily aimed at investigating in how far the media selection that results from the authority’s frequency distribution is capable of ensuring media pluralism and diverse information, and in how far prevailing tender practices mesh with the requirement of efficiently managing the state’s frequency resources.
The target audience include the active citizens who are interested in media policy and press freedom. The long reports and studies are typically read by small segment of experts, but the infographics can reach everybody, who recognise the importance the free and independent media as a basic precondition of democracy. It can reach a broader audience than the written reports. The infographic was included in several conference presentations and university lectures, and went viral in social media.
Mertek Media Monitor is a watchdog organisation and think tank that relies on legal, journalistic, economic and sociological expertise to understand the media policy processes, as well as the social risks they imply, and seeks to convey its take on these issues to as wide an audience as possible.
In its analyses Mertek examines the impact of the new media laws on the authorities’ practice and – as part of a considerably broader set of media policy-related instruments – it also looks at how they influence journalistic work, media content, media market processes or even media consumption patterns.
For Mertek Media Monitor, it's important to circulate the results of its activity to the widest audience. To reach this aim we are present at the biggest daily and weekly newspapers, radio stations and online sites.
Next to the complex and multi-dimensional reports we produce shorter blogposts for better and easier understanding. Our blog proved to be popular among readers. We launched our newsletter in English, which was received by foreign journalists working in Hungary and embassies as well. Periodically we also send Hungarian newsletter to our audience, and we also use the social media tools (Facebook, Youtube (recording of events) and Twitter).
We have been organising some successful international conferences, workshops and 'Freedom of the Press' cafés each devoted to a timely topic as the regulatory concept evolves. It is our hope that the Freedom of the Press Café will become an important forum for shaping Hungary’s vision of media regulation and media policy in the future.
In cooperation with the University of Pécs we organize the Mertek Media Festival each year in order to reach the younger generation. These events are widely covered by local and national media outlets.
Mertek Media Monitor tries to be present constantly in the technical and non-technical forums of the domestic and international public, thus promoting the effectiveness of freedom of the press and maintaining publicity that complies with the principles of democracy.
Infographics seem to one of the best way to explain tendencies and troubles in connection with the Hungarian media environment. In order to enhance the presentation of our research reports, we supplied them, where applicable, with infographics, which can be particularly useful with online dissemination.
That’s one of the reasons why we are a partner in a data visualization program run by K-Monitor anticorruption NGO and supported by EEA Norway Grant. Our important communication objectives and partners are the embassies and international organisations. We are regular participants of discussions with these institutions. In our communication, we have to put more emphasis on brief summaries which can be readily used by news agencies as press release.
Uptake and impact:
The infographics are published on the website and distributed on Facebook. They are also used as illustrations in conference presentations and some elements of the infographics appeared on the cover of a book, published by Mertek in 2014.
The infographics are very popular on Facebook; these posts are intensively liked and shared. Their main objective is to draw the attention of the audience to our text-based reports, and to emphasise the main findings of our research.
Our reports are mainly professional texts, and even if we try to avoid jargon in them, with infographics we can publish our results to a much broader publicity. Our infographics explain complex media policy issues with some spectacular delineation. Infographics are important elements to fulfill our mission, to make visible and understandable the abuses in media politics.