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The courage to be free is the courage to speak out

US Ambassador to Slovakia salutes the courage of journalists like Ján Kuciak, their dedication, and their craft, and repeats that it is unacceptable for them to face violence or intimidation anywhere in the world.

People came out to the SNP Square in Bratislava on the freezing evening of February 26 to light candles in the memory of investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová, who were murdered.(Source: Sme)

The morning of February 26, 2018 shocked me as it did all of Slovakia. The brutal murder of a talented young journalist and his fiancée in their home provoked a combination of sadness, disbelief, and anger. If the killing of Ján Kuciak is related to his work, as Slovak investigators suggest, the murder is an unacceptable attack on freedom of speech and Slovakia’s democratic society.

In the days and weeks following the murders of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová, I have found some reassurance in my ever stronger admiration for Ján, for his fellow journalists, and for the Slovak people. The past weeks have added another chapter to the distinguished history of Slovak citizens’ courage to be free. Despite the justified sadness and anger we all feel, we should also acknowledge that the Slovak people continue to shape their own destiny by acting to defend their values.

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