Bulgarian Investigative Journalist Found Raped and Murdered in Ruse
Murdered journalist Viktoria Marinova (Photo: Facebook)

Journalists across the world are facing threats and persecution. After the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, disturbing news has come from the European country of Bulgaria. An investigative television journalist has been raped and murdered in Bulgaria's northern town of Ruse, according to officials.

The body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova, whom authorities identified only by her initials, was found on Saturday in a park in the Bulgarian town of Ruse, regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said on Sunday. "Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing," he said.

It is not known 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. The last episode of the show on September 30 broadcast interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project, about an investigation of alleged fraud with EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.

Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said Marinova had suffered blows to the head and was suffocated in the fatal attack, adding that her "mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing".

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 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation. Those responsible must be held to account."

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.

Marinova’s death and Khashoggi’s disappearance comes as the international group Reporters without borders recorded 56 journalists had been killed in 2018 along with 10 citizens journalists killed and 4 media assistants killed.