European-level legislation to investigate journalist murders?

The still largely unsolved murders of journalists Daphne Caruana Galizia and Ján Kuciak have revealed inherent weaknesses in Europe’s legal framework to protect journalists.

Janna Brancolini
Janna Brancolini Kheiro Magazine, Italy
Source: Kheiro Magazine
European-level legislation to investigate journalist murders? - NewsMavens
Jan Kuciak. Wikicommons. Daphne Caruana Galizia, Wikicommons.

Why this story matters:

More journalists are killed each year investigating corruption at home than covering foreign conflicts, according to press freedom watchdog groups.

The OSCE found that over the past 25 years, only about 10 to 15 percent of these domestic killings have resulted in charges -- even in liberal European democracies. 

Investigative journalists, press freedom activists, and even some progressive politicians have therefore proposed a number of legislative strategies at the European level to prevent the continued killing of journalists with impunity.

These solutions include independent, international investigations into the killings; legislation that would help journalists fight baseless and abusive lawsuits; and stronger legal protections for whistleblowers.  

“When Daphne died people wondered if it would happen again,” Galizia’s sister Corinne Vella said during a talk in Perugia, Italy, last month. “Now that Jan has died, it’s not a question of if it will happen again, but who and when.”

Details from the story:

  • Seven months after Daphne Galizia was killed in a car bomb outside her home in Malta, three suspects have been charged with her murder -- but it’s still not clear who ordered the Mafia-style hit or why.
  • Three months after Ján Kuciak and his fiancé were assassinated in their home in Slovakia, no suspects have even been charged in the case.
  • Galizia and Kuciak were both investigating the link between organized crime and corruption in their local governments.
  • Due to the nature of the murdered journalists’ work, many now worry that local authorities don’t have a real incentive to solve the murders.
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