Bulgarian man charged with murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova

Bulgarian TV host Victoria Marinova raped and killed

Bulgarian TV host Victoria Marinova raped and killed

This week, Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova was brutally raped and murdered, making her the third journalist to be killed in Europe this year.

The interior minister, Mladen Marinov, added that investigators had found DNA evidence on the clothes and body of Ms Marinova, who was raped and killed on October 6 in the northern Bulgarian city of Ruse.

Most recently Marinova anchored the program "Detector" on TVN, where she interviewed two journalists who were investigating alleged corruption involving European Union funds.

Stressing "there is no democracy without a free press", the European Commission has urged Bulgaria to conduct a rapid investigation into the killing of journalist Viktoria Marinova. They called on Bulgarian authorities to identify, arrest and prosecute those responsible for Marinova's killing. A Maltese investigative reporter was killed in a vehicle bomb in October previous year, and a Slovak journalist was shot dead in February.

Investigative reporters who worked with her on her last report said they feared authorities were trying to "hide something" and warned it would be premature to rule out a motive connected with her work.

Marinova's final show on September 30 was a program about Attila Biro, an investigative journalist with the Rise Project Romania, and Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bulgarian investigative site Bivol.bg.

"We are shocked and saddened by the horrific murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova". She told him she was working on a journalistic investigation but didn't feel anxious about her safety and had not received threats.

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He went on to state that the investigation was about "about rape and murder".

Bulgarian officials condemned the attack on Marinova, but they were also insistent that there was nothing to suggest that she had been killed because of her work.

Bulgaria is regarded as a laggard in the European Union in terms of press freedom, ranking 111th out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The crime has sparked global outcry, with the OSCE's media freedom representative, Harlem Desir, calling for "a full and thorough investigation". A candlelight vigil in her memory will be held on Monday evening in both Ruse and the capital Sofia.

Bulgaria was under pressure Monday to find the killer of a television journalist whose brutal murder sparked worldwide condemnation, as mourners thronged candlelight vigils in the capital Sofia and the northern town of Ruse where she was killed. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning", Yordanov told the news agency.

The press office of the European anti-fraud unit OLAF said it was "aware of allegations concerning possible misuse of EU funds in Bulgaria that have been brought to light by journalists in recent weeks".

A 2016 report from the research organisation RAND Europe estimated that every year, the country loses $7 billion to $12 billion because of corruption - a fifth of its gross domestic product.

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