The bodies of Kuciak and his partner were found last night at Veľká Mača, 50 km east of the Slovak capital, Bratislava. Both had reportedly been shot several times. The interior ministry confirmed their deaths this morning to the newspaper Dennik N.
Aged 27, Kuciak specialized in covering large-scale tax fraud for the Aktuality.sk news website. His last article was about the activities of Marián Kočner, a Slovak businessman with controversial links to several politicians.
“An investigative reporter has yet again been murdered in a European Union country,” said Adès-Mével, the head of RSF’s EU-Balkans desk. “We call for an investigation in order to establish the exact circumstances of Ján Kuciak’s death and we demand that the authorities shed all possible light on this case, especially as he and those close to him had been threatened in recent months.”
This is the fifth case of a journalist or journalists being murdered in an EU country in the past ten years. Investigative reporter and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta on 16 October 2017. Seven Charlie Hebdo journalists were massacred in Paris on 7 January 2015. Greek radio station manager Sokratis Giolias was gunned down with an automatic weapon outside his home in 2010. And Croat newspaper editor Ivo Pukanic was killed outside his newspaper by a bomb planted next to his car in 2008.
Slovakia is ranked 17th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index, five places lower than in 2016.