How can Europe be a Safe Space for the Free Press?

Hay Festival in Wales

Programme editor
Europe has always been a haven for people fleeing repression, where freedom of the press, freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed. But is that still true? In 2021, the International Federation of Journalists reported that six journalists had been killed that year and 95 others were in prison in Europe. Why does Europe fail to acknowledge the pressure journalists are under in an increasingly violent climate? How can we support journalists in protecting democracy and freedom? Journalists from across Europe discuss the challenges they face.
Read more about the speakers

Veronika Munk is one of the founders and co-Editor-in-Chief of, a new independent news platform which aims to provide fair and unbiased news coverage. Although it is a new outlet, it has already 6-700.000 readers a day. Telex is set up by 60-70 former Index journalists, who all walked out of their job after pro-government businessman Miklos Vaszily acquired significant control over Index’s funding.

News platform was long considered to be one of the last remaining independent media outlets in Hungary. On July 24, 2020, however, its editorial staff collectively resigned out of mistrust for their new owner and after their Editor-in-Chief was fired. The walk-out, as well as the mass protests it inspired, illustrate the dire state in which Hungarian media find themselves.

Antonio Baquero joined OCCRP in 2020 and is an investigative editor covering Europe and beyond. Before that, he made his professional career at El Periódico Catalunya, where he served as a correspondent in North Africa, specializing in migration, as well as a war reporter in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

As an investigative journalist, he received the King of Spain Prize for Journalism — known as the Latin Pulitzer — for an investigation into the wrongful imprisonment of a Spaniard in Italy that led to the man’s release. He has also published investigations into jihadism in North Africa and Europe, and the misuse of rubber bullets by anti-riot police in Spain. While at El Periódico, Antonio collaborated with OCCRP on the Troika Laundromat investigation.

Irina Nedeva is chairman of the Association of the European Journalists-Bulgaria, member of the Management Board, journalist and author of documentaries with many years of professional experience in the public electronic media. She is a senior editor in the morning shows of the BNR program “Horizon”.

She also has experience in independent film, television and radio projects. As a person who believes in the social importance of critical thinking and open public debate, she has been involved with the first independent Center for Culture and Debate “Red House” since its founding in 2000. Her professional interests include topics such as social and political movements, post-communist development, art and activism, human rights, media freedoms, religious and minority rights, politics, history, the Cold War, and migration.

In 2011-2012 she majored in the Fulbright Interstate Educational Exchange Program with the honor of Hubert Humphrey, former US Vice President and Senator from Minnesota, at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park.

De Balie curates this programme during Hay Festival in Wales, UK.

Hay Festival takes place in Wales, UK


Veronika Munk Founder and co-Editor-in-Chief of
Antonio BaqueroInvestigative journalist
Irina NedevaSenior editor, Bulgarian National Radio