Statement on the Murder of Jan Kuciak

Candles are left in tribute to murdered Slovakian investigative reporter Jan Kuciak, 27, and his fiancee Martina, 27, at Slovak National Uprising Square in Bratislava, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 (Jakub Kotian/TASR via AP)

Statement on the Murder of Jan Kuciak

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry R. Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
March 1, 2018

I am delivering this message today on behalf of the United States of America and Canada.

First, I’d like to express my appreciation to my Slovak colleague for his opening statement and sharing the information, as you have, and exercising leadership in response to this horrible act. Thank you very much, Ambassador.

The United States and Canada are shocked and saddened by the murder of reporter Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kusnirova in their home in Slovakia. We extend our deepest condolences to their family, friends, loved ones, and Mr. Kuciak’s colleagues. The United States and Canada join the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, in urging the authorities to pursue a swift, full, and transparent investigation. We also urge the swift prosecution of all those responsible.

The United States and Canada note with special concern Slovak Police Chief Tibor Gaspar’s statements that the murder appears to have been premeditated and most likely connected to Mr. Kuciak’s work as an investigative journalist. If true, we echo Prime Minister Fico’s statement that this is an “unprecedented attack on freedom of the press and democracy in Slovakia.” Journalists must be able to work freely and safely to safeguard open, democratic societies.

Mr. Chair, OSCE participating States have established clear principles and commitments in the field of freedom of expression and media freedom. We stress the ongoing importance of doing the utmost to ensure a safe environment for journalists across the OSCE region.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.