Balanced was one of the most prominent buzzwords in politics in the past few months. The requirement of balanced news production was the most vociferously attacked aspect of the controversial media law, in large part because the term is nebulous and thus its application provides the Media Council with an overbroad mandate to request changes in news production. At Policy Solutions, we were interested in finding out how the television news on national TVs fare in terms of politically balancing their reporting.
Starting on the 21st February 2011, Policy Solutions reviewed the evening news of the six national television channels (RTL Klub, TV2, M1, Hír Tv, ATV, Duna TV) in order to find out how these present the political parties and whether their shows are likely to meet the Media Law’s requirement to be balanced.
Our detailed analysis shows that with the notable exception of RTL Klub, the concept of balanced is practically absent from evening news: politicians of Fidesz-KDNP are the absolute rulers among those asked to speak in the evening news.
The percentage of comments on domestic news events provided by government party politicians is 84% on TV2, 83% on M1, 82% on Duna TV and – maybe somewhat surprisingly – 72% on Hungary’s version of Fox News, Hír TV. The two public television channels, M1 and Duna TV, grant even larger dominance to the governing parties than the openly ideological Hír TV.
Policy Solutions's research paper on Hungarian TV channels' coverage of politics can be downloaded from here.
Policy Solutions is a progressive political research institute based in Budapest. It was founded in 2008 and it is committed to the values of liberal democracy, solidarity, equal opportunity and European integration. The focus of Policy Solutions’ work is on understanding political processes in Hungary and the European Union. Among the pre-eminent areas of our research are the investigation of how the quality of democracy evolves, the analysis of factors driving euroscepticism, populism and the far-right, and election research.
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