Bulgarian Journalist Raped, Murdered After Corruption TV Program

Minnie Murray
October 10, 2018

CNN reported that the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova, who worked for broadcaster TVN, was discovered on Saturday near a pedestrian alley in an area with heavy vegetation.

The suspect was identified as Severin Krasimirov from Ruse, who lived near the park where Marinova's body was found.

Ms Marinova was a presenter on TVN, a local television station based in Ruse.

Local media reported that Marinova had recently been involved in an investigation by a group of Bulgarian journalists into companies involved in EU-funded infrastructure projects administered by local authorities.

Joining the bloc opened an enormous spigot of possible new funding for Bulgarian infrastructure projects or other programs created to bring the nation up to European Union standards.

Her final show was about Attila Biro, a Romanian whistle-blower who leads the Rise Project Romania, probing into corruption.

Her death has shocked and angered many in Bulgaria, where people are frustrated with corruption and an inefficient judiciary that has been criticised by the European Commission.

The murder, preceded by the brutal rape, beating and strangling of the victim, caused ripples across Bulgaria on Sunday as well as a vocal global reaction.

A vigil will be held for Marinova in the Bulgarian capital later Monday.

Following Marinova's brutal killing, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's representative for media freedom, Harlem Désir, said there was an increasing trend of attacks against female journalists. In the first episode, she interviewed two investigative reporters who were recently arrested while looking into corruption involving the misuse of European Union funds.

In October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a auto bomb while investigating corruption among Malta's ruling elite.

"This is a topic on which no other Bulgarian national media dared to report on", he told The Associated Press.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on governments to ensure "accountability" for crimes against journalists such as the "grisly murder and rape." - including Bulgarian TV reporter Viktoria Marinova. "Just let it not be today", they said in a statement on NTV's website. "Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible".

On Wednesday, Weber tweeted: "Bulgarian authorities have acted swiftly and effectively".

The Center for the Study of Democracy, based in the capital, Sofia, outlined in a report previous year a portrait of a state so riddled with graft that 1 in 5 adults, or 1.3 million people, were thought to have taken part in a corrupt transaction, such as paying or receiving a bribe.

Europe has seen the steepest decline in World Press Freedom Index regional rankings over the past year: Malta is now ranked 65th, down by 18 points, and Slovakia 27th, down by 10.

Journalists' groups and European leaders expressed shock at the murder.

Last October, prominent Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who exposed the Maltese prime minister's offshore dealings in the Panama Papers scandal, died in a auto bomb attack.

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