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PEN International condemns horrific killing of Bulgarian journalist

Monday 8 October 2018 - 2:20pm

Viktoria Marinova

Responding to news that Viktoria Marinova, a Bulgarian journalist who reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving EU funds, was brutally murdered, Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International, said:

‘PEN International is horrified by the brutal rape and murder of investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova. We call on the Bulgarian authorities to fully investigate her murder and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. We also call for clarification as to whether her killing was linked to her reporting, which had most recently focused on allegations of corruption concerning the misuse of EU funds.

‘Viktoria Marinova is the fourth journalist to be murdered in the EU in the past 14 months, signalling the desperately deteriorating situation for the safety of journalists in the region. Reporting on corruption is becoming increasingly deadly, as shown by the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak for their investigative work in this area. Urgent steps are required by the EU and national authorities to protect investigative journalists in doing their vital work.’

Further information

Viktoria Marinova, 30, was found dead in a park in the northeaster Bulgarian city of Ruse on Sunday 7 October 2018. She had been raped and murdered.

A board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN, she presented a current affairs talk programme called ‘Detector’. The first episode, which aired on 30 September 2018, focused on an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, the European Commission Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland have all urged the Bulgarian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into her murder and bring those responsible to justice.

Four journalists were murdered in the EU in the past 14 months. Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist and anti-corruption campaigner, was killed on 16 October 2017 when a car bomb detonated as she drove away from her home in Bidnija, Malta. PEN International supports her family’s call for a public inquiry into her death. Slovakian journalist Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová were found shot dead on 25 February 2018 after he wrote an article linking politicians to the mafia. Swedish journalist Kim Wall disappeared off the coast of Copenhagen, Denmark, on 10 August 2017, while writing a story on Danish inventor Peter Madsen. He was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.

For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax  +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.dondo@pen-international.org