Case studies on corruption involving journalists: Hungary

The aim of this paper is to analyse the role of media and journalists in uncovering of corruption cases in Hungary. How does the Hungarian media deal with corruption cases and how do the structure of political polarization and ownership structure of Hungarian media influence this special activity of journalists?

The paper consists of two parts describing the relation between the corruption and media in Hungary from two perspectives. In the first section we present four particular Hungarian corruption cases by briefly describing their background and analysing thoroughly the role of media in the outbreak of these scandals. The cases were selected in order to be able to explain the function of the Hungarian press, especially its investigative departments.

The second part of the study focuses on the general nature of the Hungarian press with special emphasis on investigative journalism. The aim of this chapter is to provide insights into the Hungarian media market and its influencing factors. The cases of the first section are often quoted to make the findings more illustrative. At the end of the paper we summarize the main lessons from this analysis.

The study is based on eight semi-structured interviews with leading investigative journalists and one with a media expert in Hungary. The results of the fieldwork were processed anonymously; the conversations were not recorded. We subsequently analysed the articles and documents using the Google and other applications and databases3 related to the topic. The findings related to people, organizations or news outlets that are based on publicly available sources are indicated in the footnotes.

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