On February 21, Slovakia will mark four years since the murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
After the murder, tens of thousands went out to protest, resulting in a governmental reshuffle, which saw then-PM Robert Fico leave the cabinet chair to be replaced by Peter Pellegrini.
Since then, the 2020 general elections led to the defeat of Smer and arrival of Igor Matovič and his OĽaNO. But half-way through the government's election term, polls indicate the coalition would no longer win elections, while Smer is on the rise and is not shying away from extremist rhetoric.
The Slovak Spectator spoke to Peter Bárdy, editor-in-chief of Aktuality.sk, the newsroom Ján Kuciak used to work for. Bárdy opined that the politicians who won the 2020 election failed to use the emotion in society and put out the fire burning in the Slovak people after the murder.
The trial of the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová is returning to the Specialised Criminal Court by the end of February. What are your expectations of the trial?
I have no estimations. I cannot really tell whether it will have a positive or a negative impact. I'm afraid that joining the two cases, the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová and the attempted murder of prosecutors, into one trial, may prolong the proceedings. I wouldn't be happy about that.
How is life in your newsroom now, four years since the murder?
I would lie if I did not say that Jano [as the colleagues used to call Kuciak] is still a part of the newsroom. We sometimes talk about him, we say that if he was here, he would help us with some issues, when we return to the cases Jano was working on and we revive them, especially on the occasion of the anniversary of the murder.