Published: November 25 2023
This blog post examines the biases and methodological flaws in international reports on media freedom in Hungary. The National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) of Hungary has raised concerns about the misrepresentation of Hungary's media and media freedom by various international organizations.
Questionable Methodologies and Flawed Reports
The NMHH has reviewed reports from international organizations since 2011 and found that questionable methodologies were used, resulting in poorly founded arguments. In many cases, positive developments in Hungary's media freedom were left unmentioned. The authority also noted that the same comments were included in annual reports despite changes in the data. The NMHH highlighted concerns about the lack of diversity and balance among the groups of writers and experts involved in the preparation of reports.
Lack of Independent Experts and Unbiased Criticism
Reports on media pluralism were often prepared by writers from a single university department or news desk, limiting the contribution of independent experts. The NMHH also criticized reports by Freedom House for being done by a single staff member of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union TASZ, which it deemed as an organization known for its biased criticism of the government. Reporters Without Borders did not provide any information about the writers of their reports.
Call for More Professionally Well-Founded Reports
The NMHH aims to provide constructive criticism to encourage the publication of more professionally well-founded and balanced reports that accurately reflect the reality of Hungary's media situation in the future. The organization also welcomes initiatives to assess Hungarian media freedom but emphasizes the need for sound methodologies and unbiased assessments.
Questions & Answers
What is the NMHH? The NMHH refers to Hungary's media authority, which has raised concerns about the misrepresentation of Hungary's media and media freedom by international organizations.
What concerns have been raised about international reports on Hungary's media freedom? The NMHH has raised concerns about the biased and methodologically flawed nature of several international reports and rankings on Hungary's media freedom. They argue that questionable methodologies were applied, few experts were interviewed, and positive developments were often left unmentioned.
When were the rankings and reports on Hungary's media freedom reviewed? The NMHH reviewed various international organizations' reports since 2011.
What specific criticisms were raised about the annual reports? The NMHH pointed out that, in several instances, the same comments were included in the annual reports despite changing figures. For example, a 2017 report showed a 75 percent score for access to media for minorities, while the previous year's report had only shown 25 percent. The statement also mentioned that the 2021 Media Pluralism Monitor called Hungary to account regarding the implementation of an EU regulation that was not yet approved at that time.
What concerns were raised about the writers and experts involved in the preparation of reports? The NMHH questioned the diversity and balance of the groups of writers and experts involved in preparing the reports. They noted instances where writers were all from a single university department or news desk, and independent experts were not allowed to contribute to the final assessment. Additionally, they mentioned that reports by Freedom House on the freedom of the internet were done by a single staff member of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union TASZ, an organization that the NMHH claims has biased criticism of the government.
Does the NMHH provide any examples of these concerns? Yes, the NMHH report, available on the organization's website, provides further examples of the concerns raised about international reports on Hungary's media freedom.
What does the NMHH hope to achieve with its criticism? The NMHH hopes that its constructive criticism will lead to more professionally well-founded and balanced reports that better reflect the reality of Hungary's media situation in the future.