Student Documentary Shows What Drives Hungary’s Independent Journalists

A short documentary produced by CEU students reveals the ongoing struggles facing independent journalism in Hungary. Nationalism Studies MA students Ajla Henic Sarajlic and Adam Hushegyi and Sociology and Social Anthropology MA student Endre Kuklin directed and produced Real Answers, a new film featuring interviews with two investigative journalists, Blanka Zoldi of Direkt36 and Katalin Erdelyi of Atlatszo

The students were initially inspired by the question as to what drives independent journalists in Hungary, where they face increasing hostility, said Kuklin.

In the film, Blanka Zoldi provides a succinct yet powerful answer: “We just cannot stop, because I don’t know what people would be left with.”

According to Eva Bognar, senior program officer at CEU’s Center for Media, Data and Society, the Hungarian government has created a particularly hostile environment for government watchdogs. She points out that independent journalists face financial and administrative hurdles, lack access to information in their work, and are subject to online trolling, intimidation and smear campaigns by pro-government media.

Real Answers attempts to bring some of these issues to a new audience, casting light on the realities of working life for Zoldi and her fellow journalists at other independent outlets as they strive to report on issues as they observe them, rather than as they are directed.