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Communications students at Hungarian universities are being encouraged by the head of state educational television to make films and documentaries to challenge the conservatism of modern broadcasting.

Andras Peterffy, editor-in-chief of educational and cultural programming at Magyar Television, and a part-time lecturer at two of Hungary's leading universities, set up "Universitas", a two-hour Sunday night slot on Channel Two, to give the best film-makers an outlet for their work.

Professor Peterffy, a former film director and academic who was appointed to the TV post last year, wants to encourage students to experiment with news, documentaries and video commentary which goes beyond what he calls, "the dead prefabricated patterns of assembly-line television typified by the global CNN chewing gum model of news".

Since "Universitas", which is available via satellite throughout Europe, was launched in 1997 more than 100 students from ten universities throughout Hungary have contributed films and video clips.

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