smear campaign

Editor-in-Chief of Atlatszo to Media1: “A smear campaign has been launched against us using the methods of Putin’s Russia”

Tamás Bodoky, editor-in-chief of Atlatszo, told Media1 that he believes there is a coordinated campaign behind the events of the past few days to attack the investigative nonprofit from actors close to the ruling party Fidesz using the methods of Putin’s Russia.

“Reminiscent of Putin’s Russia and suggesting a concerted campaign, first the government newspaper attacks us, accusing us being a foreign agency and of treason, and then the government’s favourite pseudo-civilian organisation calls for a secret service intervention on a press conference. We consider the reason to be completely baseless: it was not against the minority Hungarians, but at their initiative, in their interests and together with them that we investigated the foreign aid paid out from the Bethlen Gábor Fund three years ago, which, by the way, is publicly available to anyone on the Fund’s website, and we also worked from these data. The project was the brainchild of Átlátszó Erdély, an investigative nonprofit run by minority Hungarians in Transylvania, and they were the main applicants for the European IJ4EU fund for investigative journalism.”

This is what Tamás Bodoky, founding editor-in-chief of the investigative nonprofit Átlátszó, told news site. (Bodoky has also been a member of the newly established Integrity Authority’s anti-corruption working group since last year.)

Atlatszo selected to participate in the newly established Integrity Authority’s anti-corruption working group

The Integrity Authority was not set up voluntarily by the Hungarian government, but it was forced to do so by the European Union: this was one of 17 commitments to fight corruption and waste of public money that the European Commission made conditional on Hungary continuing to receive EU funds.

The government-affiliated civil organisation CÖF (Civil Cooperation Forum), which attacks the opposition through posters and also operates with money from the state-owned Szerencsejáték Zrt., held a press conference on Thursday, where they said that Átlátszó could pose a national security risk by receiving financial support from foreign partners. The CÖF held the press conference after an article with similar content appeared in Magyar Nemzet, a newspaper belonging to KESMA, controlled by the ruling party.

Atlatszo journalists respond to accusations of treason published in leading pro-government daily newspaper

In this dramatic moment, which is both a milestone and a beacon of light in Pharos, but also a crime signal, we cannot remain silent about the fact that Atlatszo is not in a foreign payroll, does not work for orders, has no intention of obstructing national goals, is not part of any backroom power, and does not eat other people’s lunch.

The claim about the alleged national security risk has since been blown up one after the other by various media outlets close to Fidesz, including the state media service provider and the publicly funded

Since last year, there have been constant attacks in government newspapers against media that receive funding from abroad. Earlier, PestiSrácok and several other media, for example, attacked Telex for receiving funding from the United States for its start-up academy. The publicly-funded Fidesz media network has also thrown around the term ‘dollar media’ and, in order to discredit the media, is constantly trying to maintain the false impression that there is anything to prevent anyone from receiving either funding or investment from abroad.

Written by Dániel Szalay, the Hungarian version of this story was published by Media1. Featured image: László Csizmadia and Zoltán Lomnici jr. of CÖF held a press conference on Thursday, about the “national security risk” posed by Atlatszo (Facebook / Civil Összefogás Fórum).