• proper investigation of the double murder, led jointly with Europol 
  • EU and national action to better protect journalists and whistle-blowers 
  • EU and national action to better protect journalists and whistle-blowers 

The EU must better protect journalists and whistle-blowers and Slovakia must ensure thorough, independent and international investigation into the murder of Ján Kuciak.

This is the main message of the non-legislative resolution approved by the European Parliament on Thursday by 573 votes in favour to 27 against, with 47 abstentions. Parliament strongly condemns the murder of Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová and suggests renaming Parliament’s traineeship for journalists after him.

 

Message to Slovakia: Bring perpetrators to justice

 

MEPs called on Slovak authorities to deploy all necessary resources to ensure a full, thorough and independent investigation of the double murder, preferably led jointly with Europol, to bring the perpetrators to justice. They also urge them to protect investigative journalists from any form of intimidation and defamation charges and from attacks aimed at silencing them.

 

Parliament raised the alarm about the potential infiltration of organised crime in the Slovak economy and politics at all levels, the politicised selection of top prosecutors in Slovakia and a number of corruption allegations against top officials, which did not lead to a proper investigation and called for stronger impartiality of law enforcement in Slovakia.

 

Better protection of journalists and whistle-blowers in the EU

 

MEPs condemn insulting comments made by some EU politicians towards journalists and insist that all EU states must protect the personal safety and livelihoods of investigative journalists and whistle-blowers.

 

They want:

  • better protection of journalists who are regularly subject to lawsuits intended to censor their work
  • a permanent EU scheme to support independent investigative journalism
  • a draft EU directive to protect whistle-blowers
  • the Commission to address challenges to media freedom and pluralism in the EU
  • better monitoring of media ownership concentration

 

Quote

 

President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said: "The murders of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak are an attempt to undermine our fundamental values and a blow to the rule of law in the European Union. This Parliament wishes to strengthen the rights and duty of journalists to stand by free and independent information. We owe this to Daphne and Ján and to all European journalists who fight on the frontline every day in defence of our democracy."

 

Background

 

The murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová led to the biggest peaceful protests and street demonstrations in Slovakia since the 1989 Velvet Revolution, calling for justice, accountability, the rule of law, respect for media freedom and action to fight corruption.

 

This was the second fatal attack on a journalist in the EU in the past six months and the fifth deadly attack against journalists in the EU in the past ten years. Several attacks on journalists in Slovakia have been reported since 2007 and two journalists are still missing.

 

Parliament honoured the memory of Mr Kuciak and Ms Kušnírová with a minute’s silence at its plenary session on 28 February.

 

Type of document: Non-legislative resolution

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