Dr. Vlad speaking at Budapest meeting.

Cox Center Associate Director Vlad Discusses Measurement of Press Freedom at Budapest Meeting

No one has come with a perfect methodology to measure press freedom, because the concept itself has been defined in very different ways, University of Georgia media researcher Dr. Tudor Vlad told to a group of faculty and graduate students at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary, in early May.

Dr. Vlad said that the examination of the country-by-country indices produced by Freedom House, Reporters sans frontieres and IREX undertaken in the Cox Center “reveals significant correlation and consistency in the measurement, though the methods used and the agendas of the three organizations are quite different.”

Dr. Vlad made these comments during his lecture on “Media Freedom on a Scale from 0 to Democracy? Rationales and Policy Implications of Measuring Press Freedom.”

Dr. Vlad was invited to give this lecture by the Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS), a unit of the Central European University.

In addition to the conference, Dr. Vlad had meetings with Drs. Miklos Sukosd, academic director of CMCS, Arne Hintz, CMCS program director, and Kate Coyer, post-doctoral research fellow with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Media and Communication Studies.

The purpose of the meetings was to identify areas of collaboration between the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and the media and communication program at CEU. The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Vlad summarized research conducted in the Center that has been published in 2007 in The International Communication Gazette. Cox Center Director Lee B. Becker and then Cox Center Research Assistant Nancy Nusser collaborated on that project. Additional analyses of press freedom indicators is underway in the Center.

“A partnership would be beneficial to both sides,” Dr. Sukosd said. “Students from Georgia may be interested in the Media, Information and Communication Policy program at CEU. CEU students may be interested in programs in the Grady College and in visiting media outlets in Atlanta.”

CMCS would be happy to organize a May program or study tour for UGA students, said Dr. Hintz. “We could visit media outlets in Hungary and in neighboring countries and examine their evolution in the post-communism era.”

“Due to Tudor’s visit in Budapest, we have made progress with the syllabus of a 2009 summer course on media and development,” said Dr. Coyer. “It will be a program that will put together the expertise of the CEU Center for Media and Communication Studies, the Annenberg School for Communication and the Cox Center.”

While being in Budapest, Dr. Vlad visited the South East Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM) and the Center for Independent Journalism and had meetings with Sandor Orban, SEENPM executive director, and Ms. Ilona Moricz, director of the Center for Independent Journalism. During their conversation, they talked about current media assistance programs in East and Central Europe and about funding sources for joint projects.

Dr. Vlad also had a meeting with Dr. Brindusa Armanca, director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Budapest, who expressed the Center’s interest to host Dr. Vlad for a conference in Budapest in the future.

Dr. Sukosd invited Dr. Vlad to become a member of the COST A30 Action “East of West,” a research group of distinguished media and communications researchers from 26 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, and to be the keynote speaker at the group’s meeting in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on June 6-7, 2008.

The full citation for the article in the The International Communication Gazette is:Becker, L.B., Vlad, T., & Nusser, N. (2007). An evaluation of press freedom indicators, The International Communication Gazette, 61 (1): 5-28.