Mertek Media Monitor

The Mertek Media Monitor is a watchdog organisation and think tank. Founded in 2011, Mertek is a committed believer in European and international human rights standards and constitutional democracy. It has undertaken to review the implementation and impact of the Hungarian media laws adopted in 2010 and the resultant media policy measures; to contribute to the Hungarian and European discourse on freedom of expression and press freedom through its professionally grounded analyses and position papers; to promote the transparency of media policy decisions; and to ultimately exert pressure on media policy and regulatory decision-makers. Based on legal, journalistic, sociological and economic expertise, Mertek evaluates media policy measures and lays out its own policy proposals. Mertek’s staff began their civil engagement equipped with substantial professional expertise acquired in academia, public administration and/or journalism.

The following are the most crucial results of their activities thus far:

● the continued monitoring and analysis of the decisions rendered by the Hungarian Media Authority;

● a press freedom index that tracks the attitudes of journalists, media owners and media managers, and the attitudes of the audience as well;

● content analyses to determine the effects of media regulations on public affairs communication;

● analyses of media market processes, the identification of market distortions that result from state intervention and investigations of self-censorship and “soft censorship”;

● analyses of the audience’s media consumption patterns;

● organisation of a public debate series on the future of media regulations and media policies.

In co-operation with other Hungarian civil organisations, Mertek has joined European initiatives to shape the future of media regulations. It is also involved in international research and civil projects, its analyses were used by the European Parliament and Freedom House, among others, and the Council of Europe issued responses to its position paper. Mertek's staff regularly appears in domestic and international professional and social public discourse on media. Through their statements, they seek to raise awareness of the importance of press freedom and the consequences of media policy abuses. In addition to its comprehensive media analyses, Mertek also seeks to engage the largest possible segments of the public, through readily intelligible press coverage and online publications, as well as initiatives that strive to stimulate interactive debates.

Mertek's long-term objective is to use its expertise gathered in the context of the Hungarian media system and media policies in the process of becoming an effective participant in the activities of the international professional and civil community, to contribute to efforts which seek to scale back media policy practices that jeopardise press freedom, and to present professionally grounded models for media policy.