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Bulgaria: journalist Victoria Marinova murdered

8 October 2018

bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova
  Victoria Marinova© HO,TVN.BG, AFP

The International and European Federations of Journalists have expressed their deep shock over the murder of Victoria Marinova, a 30-year-old Bulgarian journalist working for regional TV channel TVN.

She is the fourth journalist killed in the EU since 2017 after Kim Wall in Denmark, Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta and Jan Kuciak in Slovakia. A vigil in Marinova’s honour will be organised in the capital, Sofia, on the evening of Monday 8 October.

Victoria Marinova was killed on Saturday, around noon, in a park in the city of Ruse, located in the north of the country. According to local media reports, her body was found in an area of difficult access, near the Danube river bank. The victim was allegedly raped, beaten and then strangled. She was beaten with such  violence that her face was unrecognizable, so she was not identified until last night.

The regional prosecutor of Ruse, Georgui Georguiev, told the press today that the death was caused by blows on the head and suffocation: “Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing. There is no information to indicate that the crime was committed by more than one perifson."

Victoria Marinova was an administrative director of Ruse’s TVN television and had just started her own news talk show called Detector, which was broadcast for the last time on September 30. On that occasion, she interviewed Bulgarian journalist Dimitar Stoyanov, from Bivol website, and Romanian journalist Attila Biro, member of the RISE Romania research journalism project.

Stoyanov and Biro were arrested last month by Bulgarian police while investigating near Sofia the destruction of documents allegedly revealing corrupt practices by a private road construction company, suspected of carrying out scams with European funds.

The IFJ and EFJ, together with their Bulgarian affiliates UBJ and Podkrepa, called for the Bulgarian authorities to identify, arrest and prosecute those responsible for this horrific murder.

Ricardo Gutiérrez, EFJ general secretary, said:

"This is the fourth murder of a journalist in a member state of the European Union since 2017. The killers and their sponsors obviously aim to intimidate the entire profession. We call on European governments to support without any delay the IFJ proposal for an International Convention on the Safety and Independence of Journalists and to implement the Council of Europe Recommendation on the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. States cannot remain passive following such an outburst of violence."
Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary,  said:
"Yet again a journalist covering corruption has been callously murdered. Investigative journalism in Europe is increasingly under threat. It is time for states to act. No stone must be left unturned in the pursuit of her killers - there must be no impunity."
  • Yemeni journalist Zaki al-Saqaldi, the editor of al-'Ataa newspaper, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on Friday 6 October in front of his house in Dhale city. The International Federation of Journalists, together with its Yemeni affiliate, the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate (YJS), strongly condemned the killing and expressed serious concerns about increasing hostility and harassment against journalists in Yemen. According to local media reporting, unidentified gunmen opened fire on al-Saqaldi and killed him instantly. This crime is the latest in a series of targeted attacks against journalists and political activists in the country. Last week, the YJS published its quarterly report on the attacks against media, reporting that there have been 35 attacks against journalists and media workers since July, including killings, imprisonments, attacks on media houses, the closure of media and confiscation of newspapers by security forces. It said the Houthis weree responsible for 43 per cent of these attacks, while the Yemeni government, different militias and the Saudi-led coalition were responsible for most of the others.

Tags: , Victoria Marinova, bulgaria, journalists killed, ifj, efj