For journalists taking on those in positions of authority, some pushback is always anticipated. It is practically part of the job description. But lately, journalists abroad have often become a target for violence, and two recent incidents indicate that the violence has taken on a new, particularly vicious nature.
In Bulgaria, investigative journalist Viktoria Marinova was raped and beaten to death in the town of Ruse. According to authorities, Ms. Marinova was beaten with such force that she was unrecognizable. The 30-year-old had just launched her own news talk show, “Detector.” In the first episode, she interviewed two journalists investigating the misuse of European Union funds.
Ms. Marinova is the fourth journalist to be killed in Europe since the start of 2017.
Meanwhile, in Turkey, Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2. Mr. Khashoggi, a vocal critic of the Saudi government’s oppressive policies, reportedly entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage paperwork and never returned.
While Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance has not been officially solved, Turkish police officials have claimed that a 15-person Saudi “death squad” captured Mr. Khashoggi inside the consulate, tortured, and killed him, and then removed his dismembered body in a series of boxes. The Saudi government has denied the allegation, but multiple sources have confirmed the story.
Through their respective efforts, Ms. Marinova and Mr. Khashoggi were integral in uncovering and analyzing critical pieces of information about corrupt government entities and officials. They were among the best the profession had to offer. Their losses will be felt far and wide.
Sadly, their deaths are not isolated incidents. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 43 journalists have already been killed in 2018. That is only three less than in all of 2017. And more than 300 accredited and citizen journalists have been imprisoned simply for doing their jobs.
These threats to press freedom should be of concern to everyone who cherishes free inquiry, free expression, and free thought. Serious work must be done to preserve these fundamental liberties. This is the mission Viktoria Marinova and Jamal Khashoggi paid dearly for. We all must work to take up their mantle.
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