Slovakia: possible crisis of democratic society?

Our Alexandra Visnerova analyses, in her latest blog, the aftermath of the murder of an investigative journalist and his fiancée in Slovakia.

  • In central Europe, for twenty-six years, there have not been any murder of journalists. This changed on the 25th February, 2018, when journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were murdered in cold blood outside Bratislava.
  • In its aftermath, Slovakia is dealing with a crisis of democracy; the murder started a discussion about freedom of expression, of the press and protection of the citizens by the government.
  • The impetus for this murder is generally considered to be related to his job as an investigative journalist focused on a tax fraud in connection with politicians from the government and the most influential party – SMER – SD.

Slovakia has come a long way in its democratic path since the Velvet Revolution in 1989 which saw communism defeated. However, for all its progress, it has become increasingly apparent that the current political system in Slovakia seemingly suffers from many of the same troubles that plagued the country during communism – of which the recent murder is the most emblematic.

The political fallout has already claimed several high-level figures, and it is likely to claim more before the dust settles. Fico has already resigned, yet he has not been incriminated to the extent that he is bereaved of power, raising further questions about how deeply corruption is embedded within the country – and also how the investigation progresses.

We cannot call this crisis only political. It is a crisis of society and democracy, which most likely will have a permanent impact on Slovakia. Masses of people have organized marches to commemorate the victims and show their dissatisfaction with the situation. In Bratislava, Košice and also in Prague, Paris, Sydney, Berlin and London, people have shown that they care.

You can read the whole blog on EurActive's webiste.

#Jan Kuciak #investigative journalism #murder #Slovakia #free press #freedom of speech #corruption

Alexandra Visnerova
Senior Project Manager, Transatlantic Policy Forum

EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy
Staroměstské náměstí 4/1
Prague 1 - Staré Město
110 00

tel.: +420 212 246 552