The EU must do all it can to support the investigation into murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová

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The EU must do all it can to support the investigation into murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová
 
During a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the S&D Group called for the EU to do everything in its power to support the investigation into murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová. The Group also called on the European Commission to come forward with new proposals to support and protect the essential work of investigative journalists across Europe. The debate came after a Parliament fact-finding mission last week to Slovakia, to understand better the ongoing investigation and attend a commemorative event outside Ján Kuciak’s home.
 
S&D MEP and Chair of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Claude Moraes, co-chair of the delegation to Slovakia, said:
 
“The whole European community was shaken by the murder of Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová. Last week we met journalists, NGOs, government officials, and those responsible for the investigation to understand better the current situation. We stressed to them that the EU would do everything in its power to support the ongoing investigation, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. We recommended that the national authorities form a joint investigation team with Europol – to make the most of the agencies expertise.
 
“This is the second murder of a prominent journalist reporting on illicit financial activities in Europe in the past six months. These cases show the lengths that organised criminals will go to prevent scrutiny of their activities. Investigative journalists play an essential role in society and the EU needs to do more to support their work.”
 
S&D Group Vice-President Josef Weidenholzer responsible for Civil Liberties, said:
 
“All our thoughts are with the friends and family of Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová. However, thoughts alone are not enough. A fitting tribute to Ján Kuciak would be real action from the EU to better investigative journalists. It is only thanks to their courageous work that scandals such as LuxLeaks or the Panama Papers have come to light. Although the cases of Ján Kuciak and Daphne Caruana Galizia are the most extreme, far too often journalists are subject to intimidation, legal actions, and threats to their careers. We want the European Commission to come forward with proposals on how we can better protect journalists. This is something we already called for in the Parliament’s report on protection of whistle-blowers last year and we hope the European Commission acts on this as soon as possible. We also back the idea of creating an EU-wide prize recognising the work of investigative journalists, as we do with the Sakharov prize to recognise those working to protect human rights.”
 
Monika Smolková MEP, head of the Slovakian delegation to the S&D Group, added:
 
"This horrific murder has shaken Slovakia and Europe. As politicians, it is our responsibility to crack down on organised crime, tax fraud and tax havens. These are the issues that investigative journalists are exposing – this puts them in danger and therefore they need more protection. We need to act now and ensure that no more atrocities like this can occur elsewhere."