In Ruse, Bulgaria, a TV reporter is brutally murdered. The 30-year-old had reported corruption. It is the third journalist murder in the EU in one year.

A Bulgarian TV journalist has been found murdered. The prosecution said the brutalized corpse of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinowa was discovered Saturday in a park in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse. Death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation. According to Interior Minister Mladen Marinov, the journalist was also raped. The background of the act was initially unclear.

Marinowa worked in Ruse for the small private local TVN station. Recently she started a new talk show on current topics. The first broadcast featured interviews with two investigative journalists on September 30th. Dimitar Stoyanov and Attila Biro reported on their research into alleged embezzlement of EU funds by businessmen and politicians.

Investigations in all directions

Whether the murder was related to Marinowa's career was initially unclear. The police considered this unlikely, as the news agency AFP learned from investigators. The prosecution stated that it was investigating in all directions – both personal and professional.

"Her mobile phone, her car keys, her glasses and some clothes have disappeared," said Ruse prosecutor Georgy Georgiev. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said he hopes that thanks to the abundant traces of DNA found at the crime scene, there will be a quick trail to the culprit.

Candlelight in Sofia

The media representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Harlem Désir, condemned the murder. On Twitter he wrote: "Shocked by the terrible murder of investigative journalist Victoria Marinowa in Bulgaria." The Frenchman demanded thorough investigations. The responsible persons would have to be held accountable.

The website Bivol.bg, for which the journalist Stoyanov writes, demanded police protection for Marinova's colleagues on Facebook. On Monday evening there will be a candle guard in Sofia to commemorate the dead.

Bulgaria far behind with freedom of the press

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), on average, every week a journalist is murdered around the world. In Europe, the deadly bomb attack on the Maltese Investigative Journalist last caused Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017 and the Assassination of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak in February 2018 for horror.

Bulgaria currently ranks 111th in the world-wide RSF press freedom ranking, the worst rating in all EU countries. Violence against women is also widespread in the southeastern European country.

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