“We are cautiously optimistic on the basis of our meeting with the Special Prosecutor’s Office,” said Scott Griffen, deputy director of the International Press Institute (IPI), at the press briefing in Vienna. “However, this is a very difficult leap to make, in our experience, holding the masterminds accountable.”
One year has passed since investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were murdered in their home in Veľká Maća.
The IPI and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) met the investigators in Slovakia on February 19. Scott Griffen calls the meeting encouraging, and reported that the investigators have in mind who are the persons responsible for the murder, and are gathering evidence.
The IPI and CPJ called on the Slovak authorities to expedite charges against all those allegedly involved in the murder.
"The sooner Slovak authorities deliver on their promise of justice for Ján Kuciak, the sooner they will address the serious concerns of Slovakia's journalistic community, its general public, and international institutions on the lack of political will to solve the case," said Tom Gibson, CPJ's EU representative.
The investigation into the murder brought up a lot of dirt not only related to the murder, said Beata Balogová, IPI vice-chair, also editor-in-chief of the Sme daily and former editor-in-chief of The Slovak Spectator. It is important to say who ordered the murder, but also important to investigate all the related crimes, she said.
“All these people who thought that simply by having ties to the political elites, bribing police, and bribing prosecutors they can have protected status in the society, need to be eliminated and revealed, so that it will be impossible for them to continue sponging on society any longer,” Balogova said.
Speaking to journalists in Vienna, Balogová brought up the massive surveillance of journalists ordered by Marian Kočner, who is suspected of involvement in the Kuciak murder.
Balogová stressed that authorities in Slovakia need to be more transparent about the investigation and share more information with journalists. Very often when journalists acquire information from the investigation files, the authorities, including the PM, suggest the media are thwarting the investigation by publishing leaked information, she explained.
“But the truth is we only work with the information that we legally receive from the lawyers of the victims' families,” Balogová said, admitting that journalists who report on the murder investigation face intelligence games and need to be careful in navigating all the information they receive.
21. Feb 2019 at 13:44 | Compiled by Spectator staff