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Foreign Relations In Focus – Hungary In The International Press

Hungary Today 2015.02.27.

The international press had become less biased in connection with Hungary in 2014, an analysis by the think tank Nézőpont Intézet shows. During the previous year, Hungary was devoted the most attention from neighbouring and regional countries, the leading subject being foreign relations.
This is the third time the Budapest-based think tank has prepared its analysis on Hungary’s image in the international media. The analysis examined articles, interviews and opinion pieces published in 99 Internet and printed publications from 13 countries which were partially or fully devoted to the economic and political situation in Hungary.
A total of 7466 articles were published in publications under the scope of analysis. The highest number – a total of 904 – of these were published in April, the month of parliamentary elections, the lowest figure – 436 – articles mentioning Hungary being observed in February.
The analysis also extended to published articles’ media effect. The proportion of articles displaying a neutral picture in relation to Hungary was 71.5 per cent (5337), while the context was disadvantageous to the country in 24.7 per cent (1848) and advantageous in 3.8 per cent (281) of cases. The image of Hungary in the media was most favourable at the end of the year, with 80 per cent of articles giving an unbiased picture of the country and 16.8 per cent mentioning it in negative context. Proportions were similar in March and April, the months of the electoral campaign and general elections.
Based on comparable sources, Hungary’s image in the media had become more matter-of-fact in 2014 compared to the previous year, with the proportion of reports with a neutral approach increasing from 63.7 per cent to 71.8 per cent. The ratio of negative coverage decreased from 29.5 to 24.5 per cent, while the percentage of positive media reports declined from 6 to 3.8 per cent.
The highest number – a total of 1433 – reports on the political and economic situation in Hungary were published in the Austrian press, corresponding to an average of 204.7 articles in relation to the examined media outlets. The Austrian press devoted the most attention to Hungary’s foreign relations and the situation of the banking sector.
The Slovak press showed similarly intensive interest towards Hungary – reports on the country appeared on a total of 785 occasions in the four examined media outlets, corresponding to an average of 196.3 publications.
Reports on Hungary will the scarcest in the Italian and Israeli press in terms of both number and proportion (95 and 88 reports respectively). The Italian press, generally inactive in relation to Hungary, only reported on issues receiving extensive media coverage and the Israeli press was focused primarily on anti-Semitism and extremism.
Reports were also summarised in terms of their source, the highest number among printed media outlets appearing in Der Standard (204 articles). The Austrian media’s attention towards Hungary is well reflected by the fact that three of the four sources publishing the highest number of articles on the country are Austrian.
Among Internet-based media outlets, the highest number of reports – a total of 595 – appeared on Reuters’s surface. The figure is the highest not only among online news aggregators but also the entirety of examined media brands.
Based on thematic news activity, it can be ascertained that the international press devoted the greatest attention to the country’s foreign relations in 2014; a total of 1937 reports involving the domain were published. The subject was reported on most widely in the German-language press, with 341 articles appearing in Austrian and 322 in German media outlets.
The second highest number of pieces – a total of 957 – addressed the situation of the rule of law in Hungary, followed by the question of elections (782) and issues concerning the banking sector.
The highest number of pieces conveying an advantageous picture of Hungary reported on economic issues, with 18.9 per cent of articles on the situation of the Hungarian economy written in a positive tone. The proportion of matter-of-fact articles was the highest in the area of measures implemented by the National Bank of Hungary (90.9 per cent); the second-highest figure was observed in the case of articles related to energy policy (490, or 87.7 per cent, of articles having had a neutral approach). The similarity in reporting on the two subjects is also reflected by the fact that the share of articles reflecting a negative media image was the lowest in these two fields, 8.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively. The highest proportion of articles generating a negative media image occurred in the case of supposed far-right tendencies and rule of law, issues which gave ground for the most to subjective pieces.
The full analysis is available in Hungarian on Nézőpont Intézet‘s website.
István Törteli, Senior Media Analyst, Nézőpont Intézet



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