ibusinesslines.com October 23, 2018

Viktoria Marinova killed: Bulgarian journalist's rape and murder was 'a warning'

09 October 2018, 08:43 | Myron Mathis

Viktoria Marinova a Bulgarian TV journalist was raped and murdered prosecutors and the interior minister said More

Viktoria Marinova a Bulgarian TV journalist was raped and murdered prosecutors and the interior minister said

Police in Bulgaria are investigating the killing of investigative reporter Viktoria Marinova.

Marinova worked for a small local TV station called TVN where she presented two investigative programs.

The first episode of the show on 30 September broadcast interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project, about an investigation into alleged fraud involving European Union funds linked to big businessmen and politicians. Police said she had been beaten, raped and strangled.

Officials later confirmed to journalists that the victim was also raped.

"The country has a bad image with regard to press freedom, but it's possible that there is no link to this case", said Svetoslav Terziev, opposition media analyst and journalism teacher.

Chief Public Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, on a trip to Ruse, said authorities had no new leads on a motive.

The European Commission vice-president, Frans Timmermans, said he was "shocked" by the murder.

Condolences poured in on Facebook for Marinova who leaves behind a small child.

Hundreds of people flocked to Ruse's main square to put flowers in front of a picture of Marinova, with some in the crowds urging the authorities not to play down the possibility her work was a reason for the killing.

Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday the commission expected "a swift and thorough investigation. that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work".

A journalist is killed on average every week around the world, according to figures compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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

Bulgarian police, however, say they are working on all possible scenarios, examining possible links to both her personal and professional life.

Marionva, a former lifestyle journalist, was a television presenter for TVN, a popular channel in northeastern Bulgaria.

Marinova's murder comes in a long line of attacks carried out recently against journalists. Her death follows the alleged slaying of a Washington Post journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Worldwide, at least 48 journalists have been killed doing their work in 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes press freedom.

Bulgaria tumbled down to 111th place in the annual RSF media freedom ranking in 2018 - lower than any other European Union member state. "She wanted to make investigative reporting", he said.

While Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead with his fiancee in February this year after looking into alleged political corruption linked to Italian organised crime.

A veteran TV reporter, Marinova for many years hosted a lifestyle show and also served as a member of the management team of TVN.

Giegold said, "First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria".

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