BULGARIA: Investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova raped and murdered

(Mapping media freedom) 6 October 2018 – Viktoria Marinova, a TV journalist who reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving EU funds, has been raped and murdered in the border town of Ruse on the Danube river, The Guardian reported. Bulgarian prosecutors said the body of 30-year-old Marinova had been found in a park on Saturday.

Interior minister Mladen Marinov said there was no evidence to suggest the murder was related to Marinova’s work: “It is about rape and murder.” He added that there was no information that she had been threatened.

Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said: “Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing.” Police are expected to disclose more details on Monday, The Guardian reported.

Marinova was a board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN, one of the most popular TV channels in northeastern Bulgaria. She presented a current affairs talk programme called “Detector”.

The programme had recently been relaunched. The first episode of the show on 30 September broadcast interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project about an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.

“Shocked by horrific murder of investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria,” tweeted Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. “Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation. Those responsible must be held to account.”

Read the press release by the Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria