Podcast Series Episode 3 with Szabolcs Panyi: Pro-Government Actors in Hungary Actively Disseminate Russian Disinformation

The third episode of our podcast series Foreign Authoritarian-State Disinformation: Global Perspectives is out now! The initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with Meridian International Center as the implementing partner. 

In this installment, Dr. Rumena Filipova talks to award-winning investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi. He works for investigative journalism center Direkt36, covering stories related to national security and foreign policy, and he helped launch VSquare.org, a cross-border investigative journalism initiative in the Visegrád region. Szabolcs attended Arizona State University on a Fulbright scholarship and has received many awards, including the Quality Journalism Award and the Soma Award three times each, most recently for his article on the history of Hungarian-German relations. He was shortlisted for the European Press Prize in 2018.

Tune in to the conversation to hear more about:

  • What makes a successful investigative journalism organization in times of autocratic assault on the free media.
  • The key concerns for investigative journalists, who have been surveilled by the Pegasus spyware. 
  • The means and channels of Russian influence in Hungary: shady business deals of politically connected firms and individuals. 
  • Why Hungary represents a hub for Russian intelligence activities in Central and Eastern Europe and why – as other countries have expelled Russian diplomats, Budapest has allowed their number to increase.
  • The nature of Chinese media influence in Hungary: clumsy if spearheaded by Beijing, yet effective when advanced by Hungarian pro-government actors.
  • Whether there is a threat to Hungary’s EU membership: trust and intelligence sharing with the West derailed.