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Head of Reporters Without Borders: We will monitor if the investigation is independent

Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders says leaders who have insulted journalists in the past need to apologise and commit to protecting journalists in the future.

TSS: What’s your impression of this gathering in Bratislava today?

CD: I wanted to express solidarity today. I was really impressed by this crowd with no visible limits. All those people were very peaceful, very committed to defending press freedom. This makes Bratislava today the world capital of press freedom. It’s very important that leaders in Europe and especially in Slovakia understand how important it is to defend press freedom, to protect journalists.

TSS: You have met with PM Robert Fico and some other government ministers today, what are your impressions from that meeting?

CD: I noticed that the prime minister is shocked by what happened. But from this shock, I think he needs to accept consequences, commit himself to press freedom, and express regret about what he said before.

TSS: That has not happened so far.

CD: We will see in the future. It’s important not only for Slovakia, but for Europe that leaders who said things in the past that they now regret change their perception and are conscious in the future to defend investigative journalism which is in such danger.

TSS: So far Slovakia was better off with regard to press freedom when compared to Poland or Hungary. How does the murder and its aftermath affect that?

CD: Shocks can be very negative, but they can also be positive. Tonight I want to be optimistic that this crowd will incite politicians who say bad things about journalists, who sometimes insult journalists, to change their minds and to take action to protect press freedom.

TSS: Are there any concrete steps that advocacy groups like yours can take as far as the investigation is concerned?

CD: The investigation is in the hands of the police. We will monitor if the investigation is independent and transparent, as the prime minister promised it to be.

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