Based in a strategic location in post-communist Europe, the CMCS has always kept a keen eye on issues of media development and democratization, no longer just in the region but elsewhere in the world as well.
The CMCS coordinated the 4-year collaborative research network East of West: Setting a New Central and Eastern European Media Research Agenda, funded as a European COST initiative by the European Science Foundation, which brought together more than 40 scholars from 20 European countries.
The project culminated in the three-day conference Beyond East & West – Two Decades of Media Transformation after the Fall of Communism, and resulted in a number of publications: the CEU Press books Media, Nationalism and European Identities (2011), Comparative Media Systems: European and Global Perspectives (2010), and Media Freedom and Pluralism - Media Policy Challenges in the Enlarged Europe (2010), as well as a special Issue of the "Media Research" journal on Contemporary Media and the Public Interest.
These publications were preceded by others that touched on subjects surrounding media and democratization in an East-West perspective, such as the book Finding the Right Place on the Map: Central and Eastern European Media Change in a Global Perspective and an article by CMCS Chair Monroe Price about Media Transitions in the Rear-View Mirror. The CMCS devoted three successive summer school programs in 2008-2010 to issues of media development, democratization and civil society, and papers from one of these summer courses were published as a special issue on Media and Democratization of the EastBound journal.
Currently, the CMCS is involved in a comparative seven country study for Internews on the Impact of International Aid on Media Development, taking on a case study on Bosnia and Herzegovina. CMCS Fellow Ellen Hume in 2011 authored a report on Central and Eastern European Journalism at a Crossroads for the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA).
The CMCS has organized a range of academic events to review and monitor the transformation of the media (and especially public service media) in the region, from the 2006 conference From Secret Service to Public Service to the 2011 workshop Post-communist Media: From democratic ideals to authoritarian backlash?