ARTICLE 19 calls for a full, independent and speedy investigation into the murder of 27-year-old investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, after their bodies were found by police on 25 February 2018. Kuciak was known for his investigative reporting into cases of corruption and tax fraud.
Kuciak had regularly reported on cases of alleged tax fraud for Slovakia’s independent online news website, Aktuality.sk. His investigative reporting into corruption included articles on alleged tax fraud committed by prominent members of the business community, which he suggested were linked to the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico’s ruling Social Democrat party, Smer, as well as organised crime groups.
In autumn 2017 Kuciak received threats from one of these businessmen to publicly smear him and his family in retaliation for his reporting and had informed police.
Attacks on journalists, particularly those reporting on allegations of corruption and crime in their governments, not only silences individual critical voices but has a chilling effect on freedom of expression, discouraging other journalists from reporting on similar issues.
“Exposing corruption and holding those responsible to account is a vital role played by independent media in our democracies and is protected under international law,” said Katie Morris, Head of Europe and Central Asia at ARTICLE 19. “Following the murder of Daphne Caruna Galizia in October 2017, this is the second killing of an investigative journalist reporting on these issues in the European Union in recent months. This must be a wake-up call to the EU and its member states to uphold their positive obligations to protect journalists from such attacks.”