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Czech and Slovak Freedom Lecture 2021: How Journalists Survived Backsliding and State Capture

Date & Time

Nov. 17, 2021
11:00am – 12:30pm ET


For decades, journalists in Slovakia thought that the government listening to their phone conversations, tawdry verbal attacks by top politicians, or toxic oligarchs buying their publishing houses were the worst things that could happen to them.

Then in 2018 investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee were brutally murdered.

Journalists bled, but critical investigative reporting survived.  Beata Balogová will discuss how independent journalists persevere in an era when significant democratic backsliding is reality, oligarchs keep throwing independent media into their shopping carts, and hate and disinformation sites target them on a daily basis.


Beata Balogová is the editor-in-chief of SME, a major daily and news site in Slovakia.  An ethnic Hungarian living in Slovakia, Beata also writes columns and commentaries on politics, societal changes, press freedom, populism, and human rights.  Prior to joining SME, between 2003 and 2014, Beata served as editor-in-chief of Slovakia’s English-language weekly The Slovak Spectator.

Beata was awarded the European Press Prize in 2020 in the opinion category for her commentary “How we stopped being comrades.”  She also is a three-time winner of the Novinárska cena, the Slovak national journalism prize.  

Beata became a journalist at the age of eighteen and since then she has been loyal to the profession and mission. She graduated from the School of Journalism of Columbia University in New York in 2007 with a MS degree. Beata was also a Fulbright scholar at the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri Columbia in 1994. She holds an MA degree in journalism from the Comenius University in Bratislava.  Her book of essays – Book Full of People (Kniha plná ľudí) – was published in 2019. 

Beata is a member of the executive board of the International Press Institute (IPI) advocating media freedom in the Central European region.

Event Co-Sponsors


H.E. Hynek Kmoníček

Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States  

H.E. Radovan Javorčík

Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States  

Keynote Speaker

Beata Balogova

Beata Balogová


Ken Bombara

Vice Chairman, Friends of Slovakia

Roger Kodat

President, American Friends of the Czech Republic

Hosted By

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program is focused on Europe’s capabilities, and how it engages on critical global issues.  We investigate European approaches to critical global issues. We examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our initiatives include “Ukraine in Europe” – an examination of what it will take to make Ukraine’s European future a reality.  But we also examine the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE, Europe’s energy security, transatlantic trade disputes, and challenges to democracy. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

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