What does the murder of a journalist, and follow-up events, tell us about freedom of the press and politics in a European country?
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA , SLOVAKIA
ABSTRACT: In February 2018, Slovakia’s long history of the absence of journalist murder cases ended, when a young investigative journalist, Ján Kuciak, and his fiancée were murdered in their home. While previous cases of the disappearance of journalists cannot be totally dissociated from the possibilities of murder, a lack of evidence qualified this case as the first. The cascade of events which followed further emphasise its importance. Prime Minister Robert Fico was forced to resign. Resignations of the Minister of Culture, almost immediately, and two Ministers of the Interior followed. Subsequently, the third nominee for the position of Minister of the Interior was not approved by the President. These events were largely influenced by the media and public protests on the streets — some demonstrations were larger than those conducted during anti-communist protests in late 1989. Consequently, the role of the media as the key political actor following the murder of the journalist, represents an ideal model for analysing the influence of media in political and societal change.