Corruption in Bulgaria is back in the international spotlight after media at home and abroad linked the murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova to her reports about graft. Officials, however, are reluctant to draw conclusions too fast.
The body of the Bulgarian television journalist was found in the city of Ruse, near the Danube River, on October 6. She had been mugged, raped and murdered. Several days prior, Marinova had aired an interview on local Bulgarian television station TVN with two journalists from online investigative website Bivol.bg who had investigated and exposed corruption and the embezzlement of European Union funds in the country.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Reporters without Borders placed Bulgaria 111th in the world in terms of press freedom — the lowest ranking in the EU and the entire Balkan region.
German journalist and Bulgaria expert Frank Stier believes that in future the country will be more thoroughly scrutinized before EU funds are distributed. “There is really nothing good about a gruesome murder like this,” he said. “But Ms. Marinova’s murder has led the European Commission to more closely examine Bivol.bg’s findings, and to urge Bulgaria’s authorities to shed more light on the case.”
According to DW, the exact details of Marinova’s tragic death are yet to be established. But whatever is ultimately revealed, her case has caused the media to re-examine the dismal state of press freedom and rampant corruption in Bulgaria.