BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union called on Monday for the killers of a Slovak journalist to be brought to justice after the weekend murder of Jan Kuciak raised questions about organised crime and corruption in the EU state.
“Justice must be served,” tweeted Frans Timmermans, the deputy head of the European Commission, who is leading efforts by the EU executive to bolster civil rights and democratic standards in some of the bloc’s newer, ex-communist members.
“Shocked by the murder of a journalist in the EU. No democracy can survive without the free press,” Timmermans added.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, a Czech, said: “This murder puts freedom of press and democracy in danger.”
The president of the European Parliament, Italian former journalist Antonio Tajani, recalled that it was just four months ago that another journalist investigating allegations of graft in a small European Union country was murdered in Malta.
“The EU cannot accept that a journalist is killed for doing his job,” Tajani tweeted. “I call on the Slovak authorities to launch a thorough investigation with international support if needed for Jan Kuciak. As with Daphne Caruana Galizia, the European Parliament will not rest until justice is done.”
Kuciak, 27, often reported on fraud cases involving business people connected to the ruling party and other politicians. He and his girlfriend were found dead on Sunday at his home, east of Bratislava.
His outlet’s German publisher, Axel Springer, condemned the “cruel assassination” of its journalist and Slovakia’s leaders promised to bring those responsible for the killings to justice.
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; @macdonaldrtr; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Kevin Liffey