Investigating Autocracies. How and why the EU should support investigative media in autocratizing countries

Research Paper by Simone Benazzo



How can the EU fight against media capture in Hungary and Poland?

This policy study aims to shed light on the media capture strategy that the current autocratising governments in Hungary and Poland have pursued since coming to power. In the first part, the four tactics of this strategy are described: Concentrate, nationalise, centralise; weaponise state advertising; Polarise to delegitimise, and Enforce (autocratic) law. The second part reviews the actions of the European institutions to protect media freedom and pluralism in these two countries by dividing them into three main categories: Finding, Funding and Fining. In the last part, four policy recommendations are proposed to contribute to the EU policy making on this increasingly strategic battleground in the fight against autocratisation in the Union. Data was collected first-hand through semi-structured interviews with nine investigative journalists, recent reports from independent research centres and secondary literature.


About the author

After graduating at the College of Europe in 2017, Simone Benazzo has worked as a freelance journalist and policy analyst for four years, mainly covering the Western Balkans and the Visegrad Countries. In October 2021 he started his PhD in political science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (UlB). His research revolves around the role of investigative journalism in resisting autocratisation in the EU and beyond. Besides media pluralism, he loves trekking, improvising and playing football.

#autocratisation, #Hungary, #Poland, #EU, #mediacapture, #mediadigitalisation