Berlin, October 7, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Bulgarian authorities to conduct a rigorous, thorough investigation into the killing of Viktoria Marinova, presenter and administrative director for local television channel TVN. Marinova, 30, was found dead yesterday in the Bulgarian town of Ruse, 300 km (185 miles) northeast of the capital Sofia; she had been raped, beaten, and strangled, according to media reports that cited Bulgarian police.
"CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova," said CPJ European Union Representative Tom Gibson in Brussels. "Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible."
It was not clear whether the murder was linked to Marinova's journalistic activities, Balkan Insight reported. The Ruse prosecution office and local police stated at a press conference today that they would look at "all versions" of the murder, according to Balkan Insight.
Marinova's last broadcast was an interview with Romanian journalist Attila Biro from the investigative news site Rise Project and his Bulgarian counterpart, Dimitar Stoyanov, from investigative news site Bivol, who were looking into allegations of fraud involving EU funds for the global investigative reporting platform Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Bulgarian news site Terminal 3 reported. The two reporters were briefly detained by Bulgarian police in September, CPJ reported.
According to CPJ research, two investigative journalists have been killed in the EU in the past year in connection with their work. Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak was shot dead in February 2018 in Slovakia, and prominent Maltese investigative journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in October 2017 when the car that she was driving exploded near her house in northern Malta.