Europeans woke up to a shock on Monday following the news of a murder of 27-year old investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner Marina Kusnirova, who were found dead on Sunday (25 February) in Velka Maca, a village east of the capital of Bratislava. Mr. Kuciak who had worked on reports of tax evasion among Slovakian elites, had reportedly received threats last year from Marian Kocner, a businessman who was among those Mr. Kuciak had investigated.
Mr. Kuciak’s employer – the Swiss-German publisher Ringier Axel Springer – released a statement expressing shock by the news that Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were likely victims of a vicious execution. In a statement to the Washington Post, the media company commented: “If this crime was an attempt to discourage an independent publisher such as Ringier Axel Springer not to pursue revelations about breaking the law, we will use this occasion for further strengthening of our journalistic responsibility.”
The murder of Jan Kuciak is the second killing of an investigative journalist in the European Union in recent months. In October 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb in her home country. She had been working on corruption among Maltese elites and politicians and had been credited with forcing Maltese prime minister to hold new elections last year as a result of her reporting. The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, condemned the killings and called on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico to launch a thorough investigation. “The EU cannot accept that a journalist is killed for doing his job,” he tweeted.