"We have switched." - Uncertainty and loss of trust in the Hungarian media





Hungary, media transformation, illiberal media policy, media ownership, trust


This essay approaches the issue of trust in the Hungarian media from the perspective that the last decade or so has brought constant and unpredictable changes in the media system. We argue that these changes were motivated solely by party politics linked to the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and were not market-driven at all. In effect, the owners of some media outlets and their worldviews have been undergoing rapid and radical changes. The essay illustrates these changes with specific examples and shows how this leads to a severely negative self-evaluation of journalism and a total loss of trust on the part of the public.

Author Biographies

Gábor Polyák, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Gábor Polyák is Professor at and the Head of the Media and Communication Department of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary and he works for the Institute for Legal Studies of the Centre for Social Sciences as a senior research fellow. Further, he is researcher of Mérték Media Monitor, a Hungarian NGO dealing with media policy issues. His research fields are media law, media policy, and media systems. In 2020, he was awarded the Voltaire Prize for Tolerance, International Understanding and Respect for Differences of the University Potsdam. His last books are Medienpolitik in Osteuropa. Theoretischer Rahmen und mediale Praxis (Berlin: B & S Siebenhaar Verlag, 2018); Algoritmusok, keresők, közösségi oldalak és a jog – A forgalomirányító szolgáltatások szabályozása [Algorithms, Search Engines, Social Media - Regulation of Intermediaries] (Budapest: HVG-Orac, 2020).


Kata Horváth, Mérték Media Monitor

Kata Horváth is junior researcher at Mérték Media Monitor. Her research focuses on recent transformations in the Hungarian media system from the viewpoints of journalistic practices and their impacts on Hungarian society. She was awarded a First Prize in 2021 at the National University Student Competition in the media studies section. She has joined the Newsreel - New Skills for the Next Generation of Journalists research at ISCTE-IUL University in Lisbon in autumn 2022. She was awarded the New National Excellence Program Scholarship for her next research on fact checking in Hungary.




How to Cite

Polyák, G., & Horváth, K. (2023). "We have switched." - Uncertainty and loss of trust in the Hungarian media. Global Media Journal - German Edition, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.22032/dbt.55520