This thesis aims to investigate the effect of media corruption on the reporting of corruption. The thesis takes an analytical look at the online news site Origo, which used to be Hungary’s most popular independent news outlet until the middle of 2017 when it was bought by individuals close to Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary. Two corruption cases are considered in this thesis, the Paks II case and the Elios-Tiborcz case. News articles discussing these corruption cases were then collected and sampled randomly to yield sixty articles in total, divided into four pools based on the corruption case and the status of independence of Origo based on the publishing dates of the articles. As corruption has been on the rise in Hungary in the past decade, democratic standards and values have continued to be worn down by the Orbán-led Fidesz government, and the media has become ever-more concentrated in the hands of said government, this thesis examines the effects of these factors on the media representation of corruption cases involving the ruling elite. To achieve this goal, this thesis takes a qualitative approach, using qualitative content analysis as the method of data collection and narrative analysis as the method of data analysis. Narrative analysis provides the tools to examine the features and objectives of various stories, such as news articles. Furthermore, this thesis builds upon theories of media power, propaganda, media systems, and clientelism in the media. The findings indicate a stark difference in the representation of the ruling elite (those connected to the two corruption cases) between the articles of the independent- and of the pro-government-Origo. The independent articles took a more neutral, but critical tone, whereas the pro-government articles were more biased and less objective in their reporting. The findings of this thesis are relevant to the field of media studies, as the case study shows a clear difference in the reporting on the same corruption cases by the same news organisation that lost its editorial independence. The results show how the corruption of the media affects the representation of corruption, and how the ruling elite uses the media’s power to change and dictate the narrative.

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Dr Olivier Nyirubugara
Media, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Martin Dávid Hadobás. (2022, June 27). “Hungary is Moving Forwards not Backwards” A narrative analysis of news articles by Origo about two corruption cases concerning the Hungarian ruling elite. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from