Journalists under attack

The war on journalists reaches an ultimatum.  
Graphic Courtesy of Ariana News.

The war on journalists reaches an ultimatum. Graphic Courtesy of Ariana News.

Viktoria Marinova was a news presenter for a Bulgarian current affairs television network, Detector. Tragically, her journalism career was cut short on October 6th, 2018 when her body was discovered in a popular Bulgarian park. Her case has brought a lot of international attention to the idea that Marinova might have been targeted because of her investigative journalism techniques. Her brutal murder has also sparked international debate about the freedom of the press in Bulgaria. During the time before Marinova’s death, she was investigating alleged corruption involving European Union funds.  

Is being a journalist too dangerous? What type of investigating crosses a line? Vice-President of Bulgaria Frans Timmerman tweeted, “Shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria Marinova. Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption. Those responsible should be brought to justice immediately by the Bulgarian authorities.”  

Unfortunately, Marinova is only the most recent person in an ever-growing number of journalists who have been killed in the past two years as anti-press rhetoric continues to grow. Daphne Caruana Galizia is another journalist who was killed after a bomb was planted under her car.  Galizia is remembered as being a courageous and sometimes reckless journalist, pushing the limits to publish only the most accurate news. At the time of her death, Galizia had been reporting on corruption across Malta’s political divides on her blog.

Sadly, it has been a deadly year for journalists. Jamal Khashoggi was a well-known journalist and critic of the Saudi government. Khashoggi fell out of favor with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was last seen walking into the country’s consulate in Istanbul.  

Brian Rogers, who teaches Honors The Press, Politics, and American Power, gave his stance about the recent violence against journalists, specifically Jamal Khashoggi. Rogers said, “As a country, we can’t countenance the murder of journalists. I think that our response to the Saudi’s response has been inadequate. The situation has been complicated by our financial ties and our use of Saudi as a geographic ally. Saudi has lied about what has happened and it seems that the Crown Prince directed this, or at the very least knew it was happening. I’m not confident that there will ever be a sufficient response.”  

Freedom of the press is under threat in democratic countries, like the United States, where it has been seen as an essential part of civil society. Freedom to investigate and publish what journalists want is important to democracy and to the very essence of human rights.