Media systems in Central and Eastern Europe have been subject to significant transformation processes over the past two decades. In the face of populist tendencies and with large swathes of the media being captured by governments and oligarchs, the space for independent journalism has dramatically shrunk in most of the region’s nations. For citizens, this results in experiencing their everyday realities through multiple layers of distorted communication channels. This situation is further compounded by global digital technologies such as the algorithm-driven manipulation of content. These rapid developments have additional negative effects on national and regional media diversity.
How can economically vulnerable media regain editorial independence and stand up against the powerful propaganda channels? To find answers to this question, this edition of the lecture series features two scholars who specialise on the digital transformation of media systems in democratic societies and the particular challenges in Central and Eastern Europe.
Krisztina Rozgonyi is senior scientist at the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies (CMC) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the University of Klangenfurt and a senior expert on international media, telecommunications, and IP legal and policy. She works with international and European organisations, national governments and regulators as advisor on media freedom, spectrum policy and digital platform governance. Her recent work for the Venice Commission focused on responding to disinformation online. Krisztina Rozgonyi has also engaged recently with the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom as an expert on Artificial Intelligence & media pluralism.
Marius Dragomir is the Director of the Center for Media, Data and Society. In 2015, he founded MediaPowerMonitor, a community of experts in media policy covering trends in regulation, business and politics that influence journalism. He has spent the past two decades in the media research field, specialising in media and communication regulation, digital media, governing structures of public service media, and media and ownership regulation. Marius is now running a slew of comparative research projects including the Media Influence Matrix, a global research project looking into power relations and undue influence in news media.
HIIG is a publicly and privately funded independent research institute whose work complies with scientific quality standards and transparency rules. The founding partners – the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, along with its integrated cooperation partner the Leibniz-Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg – established the institute through a donor pledge by Google, in order to develop multifaceted perspectives that shed light on technological, legal, social, economic and creative issues regarding the internet.