No new leads in Bulgarian journalist's killing

Howard TerryOct 10, 2018

At the time of her death, the journalist had been involved in covering an investigation by a group of Bulgarian journalists into companies involved in EU-funded infrastructure projects administered by local authorities, according to local reports.

A television journalist has been brutally murdered in Bulgaria's northern town of Ruse, prosecutors said Sunday, October 7, with the case drawing global condemnation.

The victim was identified Sunday as Viktoria Marinova, a journalist who was the host of a new talk show called "Detector" that offered a venue for investigative reporters, and national shock over her brutal death quickly spread to worldwide concern.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on governments to ensure "accountability" for crimes against journalists such as the "grisly murder and rape." - including Bulgarian TV reporter Viktoria Marinova.

Bulgarian police said they were considering all possible scenarios and examining both Marinova's personal and professional lives for leads.

"Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption", said Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission. "There is no democracy without a free press. we expect a swift and thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice", the European Commission said in a tweet.

Marinova's murder was condemned by press freedom organizations, including Harlem Désir of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

In October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese reporter who specialised in government corruption and money laundering, was killed by a auto bomb near her home.

Marinova's murder has drawn global condemnation and calls from media watchdogs for a comprehensive investigation.

Bulgarian journalists at Zov News and the Bivol website were investigating a drug-trafficking ring suspected of having links to police when they uncovered the alleged plan to murder Ezekiev, who publishes Zov News.

The Commission urged Bulgaria to conduct a rapid investigation and the US embassy said it was shocked by the "horrific murder". "It is unacceptable that in Europe journalists are getting killed again", he said, referring to the killings of two other investigative journalists in those European Union countries.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said evidence including DNA had been discovered at the crime scene and that "it is just a matter of time before the perpetrator is found". Police said she had been brutally beaten, raped and strangled.

A portrait of slain Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova during in a candle-light vigil in the city of Rousse.

Interior minister Mladen Marinov insisted at a press conference there was no reason to suggest the murder was connected to her work on TV. Then in February, Jan Kuciak and his fiancee were shot dead in Slovakia in a case tied to his reports on tax evasion.

Reporters Without Borders also said in a report earlier this year that Europe, a "traditionally safe environment for journalists" was becoming more "dangerous".

In a statement released by CPJ, Marinova had interviewed two journalists who had been looking into allegations of fraud involving the European Union and a global investigating reporting platform.

On the advice of legal counsel, journalists at TVN were not commenting to their colleagues.

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