Here is a selection of politicians who have reacted to the fifth anniversary of the killing of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová:
Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová
Today should be a reminder of how important the work of journalists is for democracy, the president wrote on social media on February 21. At the same time, it is appropriate to ask whether the changes and the decent Slovakia that people were calling for five years ago in the squares have been achieved.
“When it comes to a decent Slovakia, I think that decency is probably the last thing that comes to mind when describing Slovak politics,” the president said. “A lie wants to legitimise itself as an alternative opinion. As for politicians, their words often precede thoughts.”
Regardless, the president stressed that people in Slovakia should never stop believing in the power of decency. She went on to cite the ongoing investigations of serious crime and corruption on the right track thanks to the bravery of many decent police investigators, prosecutors and judges.
Interim PM Eduard Heger
Interim Prime Minister Eduard Heger said on February 21 that free and independent media are one of the pillars of democracy.
“In a democratic society, it's unacceptable for members of the government to verbally attack journalists who legitimately draw attention to their misconduct,” said Heger, noting that it is important to strengthen trust in the media, “all the more so we are facing a hybrid war and disinformation.”
Heger admitted that the situation in Slovakia is not ideal, but he failed to criticise his party leader Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) for his constant attacks on journalists. Instead, he bragged about his government setting a positive trend when it comes to Slovakia’s position in a media freedom ranking.
Speaker of Parliament Boris Kollár
Speaker Boris Kollár, Sme Rodina party leader, believes that justice will be served in the Kuciak murder case.
“Although five years have passed since the sad murder of Ján and Martina, it will be engraved in the hearts of Slovaks forever,” he noted.
EP President Roberta Metsola
President of the European Parliament, Robert Metsola, tweeted that the EU will work towards the better protection of journalists.
“Our outrage is matched by determination for justice, for media freedom and to protect journalists,” Metsola said in her tweet.
She added that democracy without freedom of press does not exist.
On Tuesday, more than 25 ambassadors and representatives of embassies honoured the memory of the murdered Slovak journalist and his fiancée as well.
Free and independent media are a pillar of strong democracy and the United States of America will continue to support freedom of the press, said the US embassy’s spokesperson Tamara Sternberg-Greller.
Representation of the European Commission in Slovakia wrote on Facebook that a lot has changed in Slovakia, and for the better. “Many people’s eyes have been opened, but we cannot let up in this fight for democracy and justice,” the EC Representation in Slovakia emphasised. It added that the Commission stands on the side of values, democracy, the rule of law and a free society.
The Dutch embassy noted that the royal couple will honour the murdered journalist and his fiancée during their official trip to Slovakia in early March.