Why this story matters:
The abrupt end of Kuciak's promising career has jolted all of Slovakia. It is no secret that Slovak politicians are generally hostile towards journalists, and that the police tend to turn a blind eye to shady political dealings. But not a single Slovak believed that reporters could find themselves in mortal danger over a story -- the country ranks in the top 20 of the World Press Freedom Index.
It had been 28 years since Slovakia had experienced the murder of a journalist. Not even in the era of autocratic leader Vladimír Mečiar were journalists assasinated. There were some instances of battery and car bombs, yet no reporter was killed.
But in 2018, two lives were taken in a senseless attempt to cover up underhanded greed.
Details from the story:
- Ján Kuciak was shot in the chest. His partner, Martina Kušnírová, was killed with a blow to the head.
- Kuciak worked for Aktuality.sk. He was investigating several high-profile individuals suspected of tax fraud, like businessman Ladislav Bašternák, a friend of many top politicians of ruling party Smer, and businessman Marián Kočner, who is known to have threatened Kuciak.
- Kuciak had filed a criminal motion against Kočner in September 2017 because of the threats he received.
- People all around Slovakia are changing their profile pictures to a black square to honor the two victims.