Beata Balogová, editor-in chief of the Sme daily and former editor-in-chief of The Slovak Spectator, won the European Press Prize 2020 in the opinion section.
She competed with her piece entitled How We Stopped Being Comrades, describing how she protested against the communist regime in Slovakia in 1989 alongside other students.
“This piece has a very personal note and the author combined it with the challenges we face nowadays,” said Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, a member of the panel of judges. “That is why it has a different angle than other pieces on this topic.”
Balogová recalls in her article how little people in then Czechoslovakia knew about freedom back, and how little they understood all the challenges that freedom brought to the post-Soviet block.
“I have also done this story to tell the international audience how important the Visegrad Region is for the whole picture of European freedom and interpretation of democracy,” she told The Slovak Spectator. “The fight for the true interpretation of democracy is happening here.”
Balogová is the first Slovak to have won the prestigious prize.
In the 2019 edition, she ended as runner-up in the opinion section with her 2018 piece titled Let’s Continue Talking About Murder, Not Fico’s Media Tyranny, which preparatory committee member Konstanty Gebert called “a powerful, argumentative and passionate journalistic response to the murder of Ján Kuciak”.