Methodology

Research process

The methodological foundation for this study is the State Media Database that was created by Marius Dragomir in 2004 and updated as follows:

a). Global update (2006, 2010, 2013, 2020-2022);

b). Latin America (2006, 2012);

c). European countries, North America, Australia and New Zealand (2005, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2020);

d). Sub-Saharan Africa (2014);

e). Asia (various regions including parts of Eurasia) in 2005, 2008, 2012, 2015, 2019;

f). MENA (2015, 2019).

Country coverage in 2022

During the latest update in 2022, six more countries were included as follows: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, North Macedonia in Europe and Malawi in Africa. In Luxembourg and Monaco, no state-administered media were identified.

Changes in methodology in 2022

Our methodology presents media outlets as individual entities that provide media services on various channels (television and radio stations, print titles, news portals). To be able to consistently compare trends across countries and regions, In our analysis we count the media operators as entities not the number of channels/assets these operators have in their portfolio. When such entities have unusually large portfolios of outlets taken over as a way to capture media (such as KESMA in Hungary), we mention that in the analysis.

In the 2022 update, we identified all media outlets that are run as individual operators and counted them as entities. This change has affected a few countries (such as Nigeria where as of this year we count all the outlets in operation at the State Level, versus Federal Level, as separate entities). Where state media are operated by one government unit/company, we continue counting them as one entity.

Criteria

The key criteria used in the creation and structure of the State Media Database are threefold: a). funding; b). management and governance; c). editorial control.

The methods used to categorize the state media are the following:

Step 1: Collection of data on

a). Funding: the budget of state media and the source of funding

Sources:

Tier 1 sources: annual reports of state media, legal acts that establish the funding model of state media

Tier 2 sources: media articles, NGO reports, academic reports

Tier 3 sources: interviews with media experts or sources in the media outlet, information from investigative reports

b). Management and governance

Sources:

Tier 1 sources: annual reports of state media, legal acts that establish the governance model of state media

Tier 2 sources: media articles, NGO reports, academic reports

Tier 3 sources: interviews with media experts or sources in the media outlet, information from investigative reports

c). Editorial control

Sources:

Tier 1 sources: legal acts or statutes that establish the mission of the outlet as a state propaganda unit, public statements by government officials establishing the propaganda role of the outlet

Tier 2 sources: media articles, NGO reports, academic reports

Tier 3 sources: interviews with media experts or sources in the media outlet, information from investigative reports, content analysis (in specific geographical contexts)

Step 2: Data analysis

Using the data gathered in each country and the criteria described in this study, the media outlets have been categorized according to the models introduced by the State Media Matrix.

Research limitations

This paper is based on our latest collection of data between March 2020 and August 2022. It has used to a large extent the information gathered in the Media Influence Matrix project that has been run by the Media and Journalism Research Center,, but also data collected through a network of 41 partners organizations and local experts.

The media is a very dynamic field, hence some media outlets can rapidly “upgrade” or “downgrade” to another State Media Matrix model, changes that cannot be captured in a paper of this kind. There is a chance that, at the time of publication, some media outlets qualify for another State Media Matrix model because of changes in their status or political developments at the national level that happened between the time of data collection and the drafting of the paper. Yet, the overall trends captured in this paper are not significantly affected by such incongruities. Moreover, we are aiming to capture such changes as they happen through our State Media Monitor, the most complete database of state media that we launched as an online platform in June 2022.