The Writers For Peace Committee (WfPC) of PEN International are shocked by the brutal killing of the Bulgarian investigative TV presenter Viktoria Marinova in Ruse, Bulgaria. The news of her death on 7 October came five days after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist critical of the Saudi regime, in Istanbul. There are unconfirmed reports that he may have been killed in the embassy.
‘It’s an outrage. The killings of journalists in Europe has reached alarming levels. Journalists must be able to carry out their crucial work in safety without which we cannot have a free and just society’ said the President of the WfPC, Marjan Strojan. There is a pattern emerging which is deeply disturbing. 'In less than a year we have seen Daphne Caruana Galizia die in a car bomb explosion in Malta, the shooting of Jan Kuciak and his partner in Slovakia, an attempt on the life of the Montenegrin investigative journalist Olivera Laki and, in the last week, the murder of Marinova and the disappearance and alleged killing of Khashoggi. The WfPC strongly condemns these killings and demands the immediate and thorough investigations into the crimes by the relevant authorities.'
We also urge the international community – in particular the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – to make it clear to governments that the intimidation, incarceration and murder of writers who shine a light on corrupt and totalitarian practices will not be tolerated. This week marks the anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in Russia in 2006, the masterminds behind her killing have never been brought to justice. Since then critical voices have been silenced with increasing frequency and impunity on every continent.
Journalists are not the enemies of the people. They are the people's protection against corrupt power. Peace can only be upheld when those holding power accept criticism, submit their actions to scrutiny and protect the messengers.