News Media and Politics - Independent Journalism

News Media and Politics - Independent Journalism


The third event of the international conference series on Media and Politics was held at the European Youth Centre Budapest, Council of Europe on 6-7 October, 2000.

News Media and Politics - Independent Journalism
- International Conference in Budapest, 6-7 October 2000 -

Third Event of a Conference Series on Media and Politics (Freedom of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe; European Public Sphere; News Media and Politics - Independent Journalism).
Location: European Youth Centre Budapest, Council of Europe, Budapest, Zivatar utca 1-3., 1024 Hungary

First Day, 6 October, 2000

8.45 - 9.30 Registration
9.30 - 9.45 Welcome Speech by Zsuzsanna Szelényi (Deputy Executive Director, European Youth Centre Budapest, Council of Europe) 

News, Media and Politics

9.45 - 11.00 First Session
Chair: Kinga Göncz (Director, Partners Hungary Foundation, Budapest)
- Pier Paolo Giglioli (Professor, Department of Communication, University of Bologna, Italy): State, Market and the Media: Some Lessons from Italy - megjelent magyarul: Olaszország - Az állam, a piac és a média, Beszélő, 2001. március, 41-44. o.,
- Dr. Michael Kunczik (Professor, University Mainz, Germany): Media and Democracy: Are Western Concepts of Press Freedom Applicable in New Democracies? - megjelent magyarul: A demokratikus újságírás, Médiakutató, 2001 nyár, 7-21. o.,

11.00 - 11.15 Break

11.15 - 12.45 Second Session 
Chair: Miklós Győrffy (Head of the Communication Department, Kodolányi College University, Székesfehérvár, Hungary)
- Daniel C. Hallin (Professor, University of California, San Diego, United States): Media and Political Power in the United States
- David Goldberg (Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom): Journalism and 'Hate Speech'

12.45 - 14.00 Break

14.00 - 15.45 Third Session 
Chair: Gordon Reid (Deputy Ambassador, Embassy of the United Kingdom to Hungary, Budapest)
- László Seres (Editor, Élet és Irodalom, Budapest, Hungary): How Free is the Hungarian Public Media? - A Libertarian Approach - magyarul: A közmédia szabadsága Magyarországon - egy libertárius megközelítés
- Andrej Skolkay (Lecturer, University of St. Cyril and Methodius, Trnava, Slovakia): Good Questions, Uneasy Answers - Issues of Journalism in Central Eastern Europe in the 1990s

15.45-16.00 Break

16.00 - 17.45 Fourth Session
Chair: Helen Darbishire (Media Law Program Manager, COLPI / Network Media Program, Budapest, Hungary)
- Winfried Schulz (Chair in Mass Communication and Political Science, Institute for Social Science, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany): Conditions of Journalistic Quality in an Open Society, - megjelent magyarul: A minőségi újságírás - függetlenül, pártatlanul, Beszélő, 2001. március,
- Dr Pippa Norris (Associate Research Director, Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, United States): A Virtuous Circle? The Impact of Political Communications in Post-Industrial Democracies - megjelent magyarul: Angyali kör? A politikai kommunikáció hatása a poszt-indusztriális demokráciákra, Médiakutató, 2001. ősz, 6-22. o., 


17.45 - 18.00 Concluding Remarks by Pauls Raudseps (managing editor, Diena, Riga, Latvia)

Second Day, 7 October, 2000

Independent Journalism and Public Life

10.00 - 11.15 First Session 
Chair: György Petőcz (Journalist, Élet és Irodalom, Budapest/Florence)
- Alexei K. Simonov (President, Glasnost Defense Foundation, Moscow, Russia): New Threats to Free Speech in Russia - magyarul: Oroszország - A glásznoszty jelene és valósága 
- Boris Cibej (Journalist, DELO, Ljubljana, Slovenia): Journalism and Public Responsibility*

11.15 - 11.30 Break

11.30 - 12.45 Second Session 
Chair: István Hegedűs (Member of the Advisory Ownership Board, Hungarian News Agency)
- Agron Bajrami (Deputy Editor in Chief, Koha ditore, Prishtina, Kosova): Media and Politics at War - the Kosovar Experience
- Roberta Baskin (Senior Producer, 20/20 ABC News, Washington DC, United States): Investigative Reporting - Making A Difference - megjelent magyarul: Tényfeltáró újságírás, Beszélő, 2001. március


12.45 - 13.00 Concluding Remarks by Tarmu Tammerk (Managing Director, Estonian Newspapers Association, Tallinn, Estonia)

13. 00 - 15.00 Break

15.00 - 17.00 Special Event: Debating Our Destiny - 40 Years of Presidential Debates - a Documentary by Jim Trengrove (Senior Producer, Capitol Hill Unit at The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS, Washington DC, United States)

* Temporary title

The Organisers of the Conference:
István Hegedűs (independent project consultant, Hungarian Europe Society), Association of Hungarian Journalists (MÚOSZ), Openness Club (Hungary).
Conference Co-ordinators: Réka Fürtös, Rita Gergely, Ivett Kovács, Anna Simon.
The conference has been sponsored by the Network Media Program of the Open Society Institute, Freedom House, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Embassy of the United Kingdom to Hungary and the European Youth Centre Budapest of the Council of Europe.

Objectives and Mission of the conference series

According to the initiative and their proposals, Hungarian scholars and institutions were going to organize an international conference series to discuss the state of press freedom and independent journalism ten years after the regime-change in Central and Eastern Europe from a theoretical perspective as well as from practical public policy aspects in a comparative approach.
Since the political transformation in 1988-1991, the media systems of Central and Eastern Europe have undergone fundamental changes. The control mechanisms of the party-states on the press have given way to independent and privatized media markets. The media, once a 'collective agitator' of one single ideology, at present reflects a plurality of views and opinions in most of the young democracies. The freedom of the press, however, has frequently been jeopardized throughout the region. In the new Central and Eastern European democracies, journalists, editors and the public encounter largely identical problems. These include, among other things, the questionable practices of privatization, the influence of political forces upon the news media, conflicts over media legislation, decline of the public service media and the inability of civil groups to access the media. There has been an ongoing and over-politicized debate about the role of media in modern society since the fall of communism in the region. 
The conference series wanted to offer a forum in which media policy makers, media theorists, leading journalists and the representatives of civil society in the region could exchange their views on salient media issues. Discussion topics included the authoritarian media policies of some political elites, the conditions for independent journalism, the agenda-setting role of the media in the transformation process, the cultural and political impact of the media as well as various other media theories and policy issues. Special attention was supposed to be paid to regulation and other institutional guarantees of press freedom as well as to strategies of cooperation between the media and non-governmental organizations.

According to the plans, the second conference of the series was dedicated to the media issues concerning the European Union and its enlargement. Since the deepening of the political and economic integration, as well as the enlargement of the EU have been on the political agenda for many years, the contribution of the international media to the formation of this new European 'project' was to be discussed at this conference. Media analyzers, European and national-level politicians, social scientists, students from the member states and the candidate countries were invited to discuss elite and public perceptions of the European Union. A special attention was to be paid to the ways and means of the coverage of the EU decision-making processes and 'Brussels' in the national press, whilst attitudes and behavior of the political 'players' in 'two-level games', so characteristic for European politics, were to be analyzed, as well. According to observers, the media might have a more important impact on forming the attractiveness or 'destroying' the good image of the EU in Central and Eastern Europe, where citizens do not have personal-direct experiences with the political culture of the European intergovernmental debates. Nevertheless, political ideologies on an 'ever closer Union' - pro-Europeanism (federalism), euroscepticism and 'europessimism' - differentiate public debate in the member states and, increasingly, in the candidate countries. These topics were supposed to be discussed together with another issue, the lack of a common European public sphere, especially a strong common commercial and public service European media. 


At this event international specialists dealing with the European Union agreed that the media in Europe is fragmented and has mostly a national perspective on EU-affairs. Just to quote Mogens Schmidt: "Allow me to immediately give a brief answer to the headline of this session "Towards an European public sphere?" I do not think we have one yet, and I am slightly sceptical as to the pace of the development towards it. When we look at the initiatives that have been taken to initiate pan-European media, they have all failed or are badly suffering." For Pro-Europeans, the situation is quite critical in the United Kingdom: "Although statistical evidence is thin, it is commonly assumed that the Euro-sceptic media in Britain is the cause of declining popularity for European integration. It is certainly true that popular media, in particular the press, are largely Euro-sceptic", as Martyn Bond described the general values, attitudes and opinions of the British public debate. In the candidate countries, first of all in Hungary, europessimism has emerged in spite of the common wish of the elite and the public to join the EU as soon as possible. "This common wisdom of the mainstream Hungarian europessimists might be characterised by three elements: pragmatism, which is very reluctant to accept the impact of ideas, ideologies and values on political life; Marxist tradition, which overemphasises (economic) interests in social and political matters; provincialism, which cannot comprehend unusual or unknown behaviour and motivation in international political life.", as István Hegedus interpreted the cultural background of Hungarian public reactions to the long-lasting process of accession. The strengthening of European identities, as a consequence of deeper political integration of the member states, might, perhaps, give new opportunities to the development of a European media later on.

Résztvevők listája

06 October 2000.
07 October 2000.