WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Victoria Marinova was found dead in a park in Danube town of Ruse on Saturday.
- The Bulgarian authorities say they have yet to establish a link between her death and her work as a journalist.
- Marinova is the fourth reporter to be killed in Europe in the past year.
Victoria Marinova, a 30-year-old popular Bulgarian journalist who focused on investigative reporting especially the alleged corruption involving European Union funds, was raped and brutally killed, according to authorities.
The semi-nude and unrecognizable corpse of Marinova was found in a park in Danube town of Ruse on Saturday, the Federation of European Journalists reported. Her death follows the alleged killing of Washington Post reporter, who vanished in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Bulgarian authorities emphasized that there was no evidence yet to connect Marinova’s killing to her work. “It is about rape and murder,” Interior Minister Mladen Marinov told The Guardian.
Marinova’s colleagues said otherwise.
“Victoria’s death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution. It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning,” Asen Yordanov, news website Bivol.bg owner, told AFP.
Recently, she anchored her newly launched program called “Detector,” where she interviewed two investigative journalists who were probing the alleged corruption involving the misuse of EU funds.
The journalists —Attila Biro, a Romanian Rise Project journalist and Dimitar Stoyanov, from the Bulgarian website Bivol— who exposed “large-scale and widespread corruption” in EU-funded projects in Bulgaria worth hundreds of millions of Bulgarian lev, the European Council narrated. Both were detained by local authorities.
Ricardo Gutiérrez, European Federation of Journalists’ head, asked for superior protection for European journalists.
“This is the fourth brutal murder of a journalist in a Member State of the European Union since 2017,” Gutiérrez stated. “The killers and their sponsors obviously aim to intimidate the entire profession.”
In August 2017, Kim Wall, a Swedish reporter was beheaded while having an interview on a submarine, owned by Peter Madsen, who was then convicted of the crime. After two months, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Maltese anti-corruption journalist was killed by a car bomb.
And in February 2018, Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak who also reported on government corruption was shot dead along with his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova.
Harlem Desir, media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called for a “rigorous and thorough investigation” into the killing and wrote on Twitter “Shocked by [the] horrific murder of investigative journalist Victoria Marinova in Bulgaria.”
The Guardian noted Bulgaria as the most corrupt member state in the European Union. Reporters Without Borders ranked it 111th out of 180 countries in this year’s world press freedom index, the lowest in the European Union.