World Media

Bulgaria probes European Union funds misuse after slaying of journalist

Bulgaria probes European Union funds misuse after slaying of journalist

The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Bulgarian authorities to conduct a "rigorous, thorough investigation" into the killing.

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 global concern. They are also investigating whether her death is linked to her work.

Marinova had been raped, beaten and strangled, media outlet Balkan Insight reported, citing local police.

The European Commission vice-president, Frans Timmermans, said he was "shocked" by the murder. He tweeted: "Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption".

Kuciak's murder came several months after one of Malta's best-known investigative journalists, Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed when a bomb blew up her vehicle.

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"I will follow closely the investigation and offer help by European Union agencies, if needed", European Union justice commissioner Vera Jourova said.

Germany called Bulgarian law-enforcement authorities to carry out "a quick and comprehensive investigation" into Marinova's murder, stated Deputy spokesperson of German Foreign Ministry Christofer Burger on October 8.

Marinova's final show on September 30 was a program about Attila Biro, an investigative journalist with the Rise Project Romania, and Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bulgarian investigative site Bivol.bg.

He quoted Mr Juncker as saying previously that "too many" journalists are being intimidated, attacked or murdered and that "there is no democracy without a free press".

Vigils in Marinova's memory were held Monday evening in Ruse, the capital Sofia and other cities.

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And Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said Sunday that authorities were working together alongside the "best forensics" team to solve the murder.

The Guardian reports that in the most recent episode of her current affairs show Detector, Marinova spoke to investigative journalists looking into alleged fraud involving European Union funds, politicians, and large infrastructure companies. In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats - aimed at her or the television, ' an anonymous journalist from TVN said, adding that he and his colleagues feared for their safety.

After her death, prosecutors opened an investigation into GP Group, the private Bulgarian building company that Biro and Stoyanov spotlighted in their report, according to The Associated Press.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said today that there is no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Ms Marinova's work.

Widespread corruption, shady media ownership, and suspected collusion between journalists, politicians, and oligarchs have made objective reporting a constant obstacle-run, RSF said. Earlier, in February 2018, Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were shot dead as Kuciak was investigating fraud involving businessmen with Slovak political ties, and suspected mafia links of Italians with businesses in Slovakia.

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Around the world, since January 56 journalists have been killed, 10 citizen journalists have been killed and four media assistants have been killed.