Ruse, Oct 8: Police in Bulgaria are investigating the killing of investigative reporter Viktoria Marinova, whose body was found in a park in the northern city of Ruse, near the River Danube, on Saturday. A local media report indicates she had been beaten, raped and strangled. It is yet to ascertain, if the killing is linked to the 30-year-old's work at a local television station, TVN. An investigation is looking into her personal and professional life, BBC news reported.
Her death immediately drew international condemnation. "Shocked by horrific murder of investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova in Bulgaria," tweeted Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OSCE), of which Ms Marinova was a member.
"Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation. Those responsible must be held to account", he added. So far, Ms Marinova is the third high-profile journalist to be killed in the European Union in the past year, and the fourth since the start of 2017.
Apart from Marinova, Swedish reporter Kim Wall and Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in separate incidents. While in February this year Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were shot dead.
Both Ms Caruana Galizia and Mr Kuciak were known for their work exposing corruption, while Ms Marinova's most recent work had been to interview two other Bulgarian journalists, Attila Biro and Dimitar Stoyanov, who were arrested in September while looking into a case of fraud involving the misuse of EU funds. 'Ms Marinova had suffered blows to the head and was suffocated in the fatal attack' said a local prosecutor Georgiev.
"Mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing", he added. According to reporters with borders, Bulgaria is considered the worst country in the EU when it comes to press freedom.
The organisation says investigative journalists in the country "are often subjected to pressure, from mere warnings to intimidation and physical assaults on themselves or their property". UNI