Bulgaria probes rape and murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova

Arturo Kim
October 10, 2018

Indian journalists have been facing abuse, intimidation and attacks since years, with cold-blooded killings of Gauri Lankesh in 2017 or Ram Chander Chhatrapati - who tried to expose the rape culture at Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's Dera Sacha Sauda, 16 years back.

The motivation behind her killing remains unknown, and Bulgarian authorities say they have yet to establish a link between her death in the northeastern city of Ruse and her work as a journalist.

'We are in shock.

The body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova, who worked for broadcaster TVN, was found on Saturday near a pedestrian alley in an area with heavy vegetation, Bulgarian state media reported. "A large amount of DNA had been obtained".

The minister said investigators had spoken to Marinova's family and friends and added: "There is no apparent link to her work".

The German government condemned her "brutal murder" and said it is imperative "that there's a fast investigation and that this terrible event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible".

Her death immediately drew global condemnation.

And the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, similarly said that "attacks on journalists erode the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and its corollaries, press freedom and free access to information".

"It is about rape and murder", he told the press.

European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmerman said he was "shocked by the horrendous murder".

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The press office of the European anti-fraud unit OLAF said it was "aware of allegations concerning possible misuse of EU funds in Bulgaria that have been brought to light by journalists in recent weeks".

Marinova, the third high-profile journalist to be killed in the European Union in the past year, and the fourth since the start of 2017, was a journalist known to ask tough questions.

It was not clear whether the murder was linked to Marinova's journalistic activities, Balkan Insight reported.

Victoria Marinova had been reporting on corruption.

Reporters Without Borders also said in a report earlier this year that Europe, a "traditionally safe environment for journalists" was becoming more "dangerous". She was not a household name in Bulgaria and was previously best known for presenting a regional lifestyle show.

"Those responsible must be held to account", Harlem Desir, a representative for media freedom at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, wrote on Twitter, urging a full investigation.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an global press freedom organization, has written to the Bulgarian Prime Minister, and top European Union leaders, expressing concern that Bulgarian journalists investigating a huge corruption case have been harassed, warning they are at risk of retaliation for their reporting.

TVN said in a statement that their team was suffering "great pain and insurmountable grief" at the death of their colleague.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said he expects law enforcement will find the suspect.

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