What has lockdown meant for independent media in Eastern Europe?

FES Budapest assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the already beleaguered independent media in Eastern Europe.

Image from canva.com

Independent media houses in Eastern Europe have been struggling to stay in business and maintain standards, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the lockdown has made production even harder and cut advertising and other revenues, just as demand for quality information and analysis has been surging.

The Budapest office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in May commissioned reports by nine media professionals on the changes to the sector since the pandemic in their respective countries. Findings included that the new thirst for COVID-related information has not translated into a rise in financial stability for the media providing it. Existing business models remain vulnerable and funding mechanisms woefully inadequate.

The advertising market has nearly collapsed, with serious repercussions for all media formats.

Media funded by wealthy individuals appear in a better position to survive, though this can compromise editorial independence.

Also, emergency laws in some countries have put journalists at legal risk when reporting critically.

The findings were discussed in two regional online conferences and a working paper, as well as summarized in this short video:


In the wake of the project, a policy proposal has been developed together with Reporters Without Borders. The proposal will be discussed with Members of European Parliament and others in a number of meetings during the months of October and November.

For more information about the work of FES Budapest Office contact them through their website or follow them on Facebook

Popular posts

  • 03.11.2020

    Hydrogen hype in the desert

    The respective hydrogen strategies of Germany and the European Union are set to solve the question how to decarbonize the industrial sector. Hydrogen...


  • 02.11.2020

    Further steps are needed to ensure a gender-just energy transition

    For the shift from fossil fuels towards renewable energies to be genuinely sustainable on both the environmental and social levels, it needs to be...


  • 29.09.2020

    Care for those who take care of you: Domestic workers in Brazil

    The inclusivity of Brazilian society is put to the test as the coronavirus pandemic highlights a labour sector ripe with historical and structural...


back to top