Statement on the Murder of Viktoria Marinova

A portrait of murdered journalist Viktoria Marinova at the Liberty Monument in Ruse, Bulgaria, Oct. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Filip Dvorski)

Statement on the Murder of Viktoria Marinova

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Harry Kamian
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
October 11, 2018

The United States is shocked and saddened by the murder of investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova. We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, loved ones, and to Ms. Marinova’s colleagues at TVN-Bulgaria. The United States joins the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), Mr. Harlem Desir, and others in urging the authorities in Bulgaria to pursue a swift, full, and transparent investigation and accountability for those responsible. We welcome the statements made by the Prime Minister of Bulgaria yesterday confirming that there has been an arrest made in connection to this case.

We urge the prosecutor general to continue to investigate whether Ms. Marinova’s murder was connected to her work. Without prejudging the outcome of the investigation, the United States notes with special concern what the RFoM has described as a growing trend of attacks against female journalists. The circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Marinova are especially troubling, as she allegedly was brutally beaten and raped before her killing.

The United States values media freedom as a key component of democratic governance. Journalists shine a light on many issues of public interest; they keep citizens informed, prompt robust debate and discussion, and hold governments to account. Journalists often face considerable risks. Murder should not be one of them.

OSCE participating States have established clear commitments on freedom of expression, media freedom, and conditions for journalists. We call on all participating States to implement their commitments to promote the safety of journalists and advance a free, independent, and pluralistic media.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.