Between 20 and 21 February 2023, a delegation of international media freedom organisations will conduct a joint mission to Bratislava to mark the five-year anniversary of the killing of Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová.
The aim of the mission is twofold. Firstly, to take part in the anniversary events and express solidarity with the families and the Slovak journalistic community as the retrial of the alleged mastermind at the Specialised Criminal Court reaches its final stage.
Secondly, five years after the assassination, to evaluate the security of journalists and the legal framework for their work, to understand the challenges facing independent journalism in private and public media, and to take the pulse of overall press freedom in the country.
The main question the delegation will seek to answer is: five years on from the killing, have the changes in Slovak politics, legislation, law enforcement, media industry and society been systemic enough to ensure the murder of a journalist never happens again and that media professionals can work freely?
The mission will be joined by the International Press Institute (IPI), European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Free Press Unlimited (FPU) and ARTICLE 19 Europe. The mission is part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR).
During the visit, the delegation will meet with editors and journalists of the major Slovak media including the public broadcaster RTVS. The organisations will discuss their proposals for the improvement of press freedom at meetings with representatives of the government, the opposition, the police presidency, chief prosecutor’s office and other public officials. Members of the delegation will speak at the conference “Media Freedom 2023” organized on 20 February in Bratislava by the Ministry of Culture under the auspices of the Media Freedom Coalition.
Interim findings for the mission will be shared via press conference at 15.00 on 21 February at the European Information Centre, Palisády 29, 811 06 Staré Mesto, Bratislava.