Victoria Marinova, a 30-year-old Bulgarian journalist, was murdered “in a particularly violent manner” in the northern Bulgarian city of Ruse on Saturday, making her the third journalist to be killed this year in an EU country.
The body of the 30-year-old woman, who was beaten and choked, was found on Saturday in a city park, regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said. “Her mobile phone, her car keys, her glasses and some of her clothes are gone,” said the prosecutor, adding that the investigators are exploring all lines of investigation related to her personal and professional life.
According to local media, Viktoria Marinova was the administrative manager and presenter of a news program on TVN, a city television channel. Police sources said the crime did not seem to be directly related to the victim’s profession.
However, prosecutor Georguiev said that the prosecutor’s investigation will be based on several assumptions, including that the motive for the assassination could have been related to her investigative work as a journalist.
Victoria Marinova presented a show on TVN called “Detector”, which aired for the last time on 30 September. Her last interview was with Bulgarian journalist and partner WikiLeaks Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg investigative website, as well as the Romanian journalist Attila Biro, whose a member of the research journalism project “RISE Romania”.
Stoyanov and Biro were arrested last month by Bulgarian police while investigating the destruction of documents that allegedly revealed corrupt practices by a private road construction company suspected of embezzling European funds.
According to RSF, Bulgarian investigative journalists are exposed to “many forms of pressure and intimidation” and face “oligarchs with a media monopoly and authorities suspected of corruption and links to organized crime”.
Two investigative journalists have been killed in Europe over the last 12 months: reporter Jan Kuciak in Slovakia in February and Maltese journalist Daphné Caruana Galizia in October 2017, sparking a political and media shock wave.