The Mass Media’s Systemic Contribution to Political Transformation

Coverage of the 1956 Uprising in Hungarian Print Media (June 1988–June 1989)




Mass Media Systems, Print Media Reporting, Political transformation, public sphere, transformation of discourse, Hungary, Imre Nagy


The article is aimed at contributing to the discussion of the role of the mass media system in political transformation. For this purpose, reporting on a political issue relevant to the transformation was selected for tracing the theoretical assumption along empirical results: the hitherto taboo topic of Hungarian uprising in 1956. I studied how 1956 was reported in Hungary’s main print media, Népszabadság and Magyar Nemzet, from June 1988 to June 1989. These newspapers, despite still being controlled by the government in the dissolving socialist system of the end 1980s, helped a functional public sphere emerging. The newspapers broadened the interpretive scope by facilitating dissenting opinions and enabled a hitherto suppressed discourse about Kadar’s role in the historical events of 1956. The results suggest the newspapers acted as professional mediators and had a systemic stabilising effect on Hungarian society in this smouldering conflict.

Author Biography

Indira Dupuis, Freie Universität Berlin

Indira Dupuis, PhD, is post-doc researcher affiliated at the institute for media and communication studies at Free University of Berlin. Her main research interests are political public discourse, mass media systems and journalism especially in Eastern Europe, and mass media functionality in political processes.


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How to Cite

Dupuis, I. (2021). The Mass Media’s Systemic Contribution to Political Transformation: Coverage of the 1956 Uprising in Hungarian Print Media (June 1988–June 1989). Central European Journal of Communication, 14(2(29), 305-320.



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