The Price of Investigative Journalism

This story has nothing to do with Public Corruption in Texas and then again it has everything to do with it. How you may ask? Corruption is a business model and our former Governor Rick Perry courted many corrupt politicians when he was the governor.  Interesting enough one of the key people in this corruption story visited the state just a few years and had a Texas Ranger detailed to accompany him everywhere he went. This is quite possibly the road Texas Government has taken us with the exception our journalist our not being murdered yet.  I cannot say the same for Mexican Journalist.  Some have been assassinated in the United Sates.  Latin America is the deadliest place in the world for journalists today. Its not surprise that most journalist simply do not report public corruption unless, their is a conviction first! We have very few investigative journalist left anyway. On the rare occasion government officials do not like something that does happen to be reported they simply refer to it as “fake news.”

 

Murdered Mexican Journalist

 

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse near the Romanian border. Police said she had been raped, beaten and strangled and her body was found in a park near the river.

Bulgarian police are investigating the rape and slaying of the female television reporter whose body was dumped near the Danube River after she reported on the possible misuse of European Union funds in Bulgaria.

Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs.

Journalists’ groups and foreign officials expressed shock. Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, demanded a “full and thorough investigation” of Marinova’s slaying.

A Bulgarian investigative online media site went further, calling for an independent international inquiry and saying corruption could compromise an investigation by Bulgarian law enforcement.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov insisted Monday there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Marinova’s work.

( Of course not because it might implicate him )

“It is about rape and murder,” he said.

Chief Public Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, on a trip to Ruse, said authorities had no new leads on a motive.

“At this stage, let’s be careful, not because we don’t have anything to say, but because every word uttered loosely could damage our work,” he said.

Bulgarian police said they were considering all possible scenarios and examining both Marinova’s personal and professional lives for leads.

Hundreds of Bulgarians turned out Monday night for vigils to honor Marinova. In Ruse, mourners, some tearful, placed candles, her portrait and roses— the national flower— at the foot of a monument.

In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, mourners gathered outside a church. One participant, Kristina Petkov, said Bulgarians now had “zero” trust in authorities.

“Whatever results the investigation (into Marinova’s death) shows, people won’t believe them,” she said.

Corruption is endemic in Bulgaria, a Balkan nation that joined the EU in 2007 and was ranked 71st on Transparency International’s corruption list last year. Joining the bloc opened an enormous spigot of possible new EU funding for Bulgarian infrastructure projects or other programs designed to bring the nation up to EU standards — funds that were very attractive to both government officials and criminal networks.

Marinova’s final show on Sept. 30 was a program about Attila Biro, an investigative journalist with the Rise Project Romania, and Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bulgarian investigative site Bivol.bg. The two men were briefly detained Sept. 13 south of Sofia as they investigated a tip that documents connected to suspected fraud involving EU funds were being destroyed.

Bivol.bg owner Assen Yordanov said he couldn’t directly link Marinova’s slaying to her work, but noted her show tackled “our very sensitive investigation into the misuse of EU funds.”

“This is a topic on which no other Bulgarian national media dared to report on,” he told The Associated Press. “To get to the truth, we are calling for an independent investigation…. we want independent European investigators to get involved because we believe the Bulgarian authorities are part of this country’s criminal network.”

Yordanov said his journalists were getting threats to their safety for reporting on government corruption.

Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday the commission expected “a swift and thorough investigation …. that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work.”

He quoted Juncker as saying previously that “too many” journalists are being intimidated, attacked or murdered and “there is no democracy without a free press.”

The German government also sharply condemned the slaying, with the Foreign Ministry saying it was imperative “that there’s a fast investigation and that this horrible event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible.”

Sven Giegold, a German member of the Greens party in the European Parliament, said all of Europe should worry about Marinova’s slaying.

“First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria. It is unacceptable that in Europe journalists are getting killed again,” he said, referring to the slayings of two other investigative journalists in those EU countries.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is paying “very close attention” to “a very worrying increase” in violence against journalists, especially women journalists, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Guterres has raised the issue with U.N. member states privately and publicly, Dujarric said.

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia , who investigated local government corruption, was killed in October 2017 by a car bomb. Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead along with his fiancee in February after he reported on corrupt ties between Slovak officials and Italian mobsters. Kuciak’s reporting and his slaying brought down the Slovak government. Probably all coincidences right?

In addition, Swedish journalist Kim Wall was tortured and murdered during a private submarine trip in August 2017. Danish submarine inventor Peter Madsen was convicted and sentenced to life in prison earlier this year.

 

 

Retaliation like this does not happen in the United States.  Incorrect.

It does happen. Perhaps one of the most well known cases is that of Gary Webb.

Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion is a 1998 book by journalist Gary Webb. The book is based on “Dark Alliance”, Webb’s three-part investigative series published in the San Jose Mercury News in August 1996. The original series claimed that, in order to help raise funds for efforts against the Nicaraguan Sandinista National Liberation Front Sandinista government, the CIA supported cocaine trafficking into the US by top members of Nicaraguan Contra Rebel organizations and allowed the subsequent crack epidemic to spread in Los Angeles. The book expands on the series and recounts media reaction to Webb’s original newspaper expose.

After the announcement of federal investigations into the claims made in the series, other newspapers began investigating, and several papers ultimately published articles suggesting the series’ claims were overstated.  He resigned from the paper in November 1997.  After leaving The Mercury News, Webb worked as an investigator for the California State Legislature. His assignments included investigating racial profiling by the California Highway Patrol and charges that the Oracle Corporation had received a no-bid contract award of $95 million in 2001.  Webb was found dead in his Carmichael home on December 10, 2004, with two gunshot wounds to the head. His death was ruled a suicide by the Sacramento County coroner’s office.   In October 2014, a movie based on Webb’s life was released. The movie Kill the Messenger was based on Webb’s book Dark Alliance. Actor Jeremy Renner portrayed Webb.