Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova found raped and murdered

Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova found raped and murdered

Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova found raped and murdered

Although there is no confirmation that Marinova, who was 30, was murdered because of her television work, the case has led to calls from global and domestic media freedom bodies who have urged a thorough investigation and linked it to Bulgaria's low ranking in media freedom in comparison with all other European Union countries.

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Mladen Mladenov confirmed that Marinova was raped before she was killed, describing her death as "exceptionally brutal".

"The shocking news about the murder of Victoria Marinova, an investigative journalist, seemingly linked to her reports on investigations into alleged corruption involving European Union funds, urges us to take immediate action at all levels and with all legal means", Moraes wrote.

No link has been established to her work so far and Borissov criticised Bulgarians who he said had rushed to mention Bulgaria along with Malta and Slovakia, where journalists had been killed recently for their work.

However, he said he would withdraw his support for German MEP Manfred Weber, a leading candidate to for the next head of the European Commission, because of tweets he made associating the death of Marinova with those of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak.

Bulgarian police have said they are examining all possible motives for the killing, including the possibility that it was linked to her work.

Marinova's friend Todor Gechev told reporters from Bulgarian National Television (BNT) that he met with her last Wednesday.

"The evidence that we have at this stage leads us to believe it was a spontaneous attack to sexually abuse the victim".

An episode of her programme aired on September 30 featured interviews with two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been working on corruption allegations.

Denitsa Peicheva, 28, holds her son as she lays flowers next to candles left in memory of Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova in Ruse, Bulgaria, October 9, 2018.

"There is justified worldwide skepticism about the Bulgarian state's commitment to press freedom and only a comprehensive and thorough investigation will assuage those doubts", he added.

They did not offer any new details about the case after their meeting with the local authorities.

"[The] CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova", commented its European Union representative, Tom Gibson, from Brussels.

"We are running out of live reporters to report on the dead ones", Drew Sullivan, editor and co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), warned of the danger to journalists.

In a statement from the United Nations cultural agency's headquarters in Paris, Azoulay added: "Attacks on journalists erode the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and its corollaries, press freedom and free access to information".

Worldwide, at least 48 journalists have been killed doing their work in 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an advocacy group that does an annual count of detained and killed journalists. In a summary, the organization noted that "corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs is widespread". "It is about rape and murder", he said.

Bulgaria is ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom - lower than any other state in the EU.

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