Journalists said they were deeply concerned about the cold blooded murder of their colleague Jan Kuciak and his fiancee in their house on Sunday, which they said was a consequence of attacks by State representatives on journalists digging up dirt.
The Slovak Section of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) said in a statement: “This heinous crime was committed while Kuciak was pursuing investigative work to expose crimes of persons linked not only to the underworld but also to the political elite of the country. The AEJ Slovak Section demands that the Slovak police authorities fully and thoroughly investigate these murders and bring the perpetrators to justice before the courts”.
They said the murder was an attack on the basic principle of a lawful democratic state and on freedom of speech and the press, which are among the constitutional rights of Slovak citizens.
They pointed to aggressive verbal attacks on journalists by State representatives as provoking the situation. “This is clearly also a dire consequence of the climate engendered by systematic long-term aggressive verbal attacks on journalists by various leading state representatives”.
They also questioned how the country was protecting those who put themselves at risk when uncovering anti-social activities or wrongdoing.
Two other cases of Slovak journalists who have disappeared without explanation and are still missing – reporter Palo Rypal since 2008 and economic journalist Miroslav Pejko since 2015. They were both also active in the media in investigative journalism.
“We urgently request that the criminal authorities inform the public about the current status of investigations into these murders, and the progress made in the search for the missing journalists,” they said.
The statement was signed by:
Tibor Macak, Secretary General AEJ Int.
Juraj Alner, Founder AEJ, Slovak section and Honorary Sec. Gen. AEJ Int.
Julius Lorincz, former head of AEJ, Slovak section,
Ivan Brada, member of AEJ, Slovak section, Investigative journalist,
John Boyd, member of AEJ Slovak section.