Slovak press under fire after PM Fico shooting

Police guard the Specialized Criminal Court in Pezinok, north of Bratislava, Slovakia, where the suspect in the shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico is being charged on May 18, 2024. (Photo: AFP/ Vladimir Simicek)

Almost immediately after the attempted assassination of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico on May 15, members of the ruling coalition blamed the attack on journalists by linking it to their critical coverage and issued retaliatory threats.

“This is your fault,” said Ľuboš Blaha, a deputy speaker of parliament and a member of Fico’s Smer party, who has used social media to accuse the press of bias and to smear journalists. “You, the liberal media, the political opposition, what hatred you spread against Robert Fico, you built the gallows for him,” he told reporters before the prime minister was discharged from hospital later in May.

CPJ was in Slovakia at the time of the attack meeting with journalists, press freedom advocates, and diplomats. They described the atmosphere as “depressing,” “toxic,” and “unprecedented.” Read CPJ’s new analysis on why the attempt on the prime minister’s life might represent a new chapter in the government’s war on the media.

Dutch journalist’s killers, Turkish journalist’s attackers sentenced
Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries is seen in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on January 31, 2008.
Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries is seen in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2008. (Photo: AP/Peter Dejong)

Impunity was dealt a blow in separate cases in the Netherlands and Turkey this week, as a Dutch court convicted three men for the 2021 assassination of veteran crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, and a Turkish court sentenced seven people involved in a 2019 attack on columnist and TV commentator Yavuz Selim Demirağ in the capital, Ankara.

De Vries was gunned down on outside a television studio in Amsterdam, and died nine days later. Authorities believe he was targeted for his role as an adviser and spokesperson for a witness in the trial of a drug kingpin.

Demirağ was beaten by at least six men with baseball bats outside his home, he told CPJ by phone, saying he believes his attackers assaulted him due to his political commentary.

Safety Resources

Need further assistance? Contact us.

Journalists Attacked

Myat Thu Tan


Myat Thu Tan, a contributor to the local news website Western News and correspondent for several independent Myanmar news outlets, was shot and killed on January 31, 2024, while in military custody in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

He was arrested on September 22, 2022, and held in pre-trial detention under a broad provision of the penal code that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news for critical posts he made on his Facebook page. Myat Thu Tan had not been tried or convicted at the time of his death.

The journalist’s body was found buried in a bomb shelter, with the bodies of six other political detainees, and showed signs of torture.

Myanmar’s military junta has cracked down on journalists and media outlets since seizing power in a February 2021 coup.

In at least 8 out of 10 cases, the murderers of journalists go free. CPJ is waging a global campaign against impunity.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally