A Murdered Journalist's Last Investigation

Credit: Edin Pašović, OCCRP

In late February 2018, Jan Kuciak, a young Slovak investigative journalist, was murdered by a single bullet. His fiancée was killed alongside him.

Before his death, Kuciak had been working with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and his outlet, Aktuality.sk, on an in-depth investigation about the Italian ‘Ndrangheta, one of the world’s most powerful and fearsome criminal groups, and their infiltration into his country.

His reporting — now forever unfinished — was carried out in collaboration with two OCCRP partners: the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism (CCIJ) and the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI).

Jan’s final stories, published to honor his memory, set the record straight, and minimize the danger to his colleagues, appear below.

The Model, the Mafia, and the Murderers

A former model hired as an assistant by Slovakia’s Prime Minister once did business with a man connected to Italy’s notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia.

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Italian Farms, Slovak Soil

Agricultural land in Slovakia ended up in the hands of families linked to the Italian 'Ndrangheta — who then used it to benefit from EU farm subsidies.

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Freedom of Information Law: Reporter’s Best Friend or Killer?

As soon as journalists published the last investigation of their murdered colleague, Slovak reporter Jan Kuciak, they immediately focused on another important issue: Why was he killed? And how did his killers know that he was working on a story about them?

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News

Experts Urge EU Parliament to Protect Journalists

The situation concerning freedom of media is “alarming” as only a fraction of the world’s population enjoys a free press, an EU official warned on Wednesday. Experts want new laws to protect investigative journalists.

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Slovakia’s ruling party losing support after Kuciak’s murder

Support for Slovakia’s ruling party, Smer, has dropped by four percent since the February mass protests over the murder of a journalist who was investigating links between Slovak politicians and organized crime.

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Slovak PM resigns after journalist’s murder

Prime Minister Robert Fico resigned on Thursday following mass protests and political turmoil over the murder of a journalist who delved into corruption and links between organized crime and politics.

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Slovak Interior Minister Resigns Following Massive Protests

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak, resigned on Monday following large anti-government protests that erupted when details of the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were released.

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Slovaks Protest as Slain Journalist is Laid to Rest

Family members and friends buried murdered journalist Jan Kuciak on Saturday in the town of Stiavnik as tens of thousands of Slovaks protested in the capital of Bratislava against the government.

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EU Parliamentarians Ask for Independent Probe into Slovak Reporter’s Murder

Lawmakers in the EU Parliament called on Thursday for an independent investigation into the deaths of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée.

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Three Arrested for the Murder of Jan Kuciak and His Fiancee

Antonino Vadala, Bruno Vadala, and Pietro Catroppa have been arrested by Slovak police for the murders of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancee.

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Three People Resign Following Journalist’s Death

Three government officials have resigned following the death of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and the revelations in his last story published earlier today by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the Czech Center for Investigative Journalism (CCIJ), and the Investigative Reporting Project Italy (IRPI).

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Slovak Journalist Murdered in Double-Homicide

A Slovak investigative journalist and his girlfriend were found shot dead in their home in a village east of Bratislava following a call to the police from a worried family member.

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Reactions

The EU cannot accept that a journalist is killed for doing his job. I call on Slovak authorities to launch a thorough investigation, with international support, if needed, for Jan Kuciak.

Antonio Tajani, President, European Parliament

I am shaken and terrified that something like this could happen in Slovakia. The coldblooded murder of young people is an atrocity that has to be punished. We have to find the people who did this and secure the safety of journalists.

Andrej Kiska, President of Slovakia

Slovakia can’t be a country where journalists are murdered.

Lucia Zitnanska, Justice Minister of Slovakia

In open, democratic societies journalists must be able to work freely and safely. This horrific crime calls for a determined investigation and the swift prosecution of those responsible.

US Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling

The killing or intimidation of journalists has no place in Europe, no place in any democracy.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President, European Commission

We cannot accept a new reality in which journalists become regular targets for attack because of their investigative work.

Harlem Desir, OSCE representative on freedom of the media

The murder of a journalist is a serious signal that crime is directed against one of the main pillars of freedom: freedom of expression and the right of citizens to control the powerful and those who violate laws. We, the editors-in-chief, are calling on the state to take all the necessary steps - not only in the search for the perpetrators, but also to create safe working conditions for journalists.

Group of Slovak editors-in-chief

We take this murder as an unprecedented act against investigative journalism and free media in Slovakia. We call on the authorities to enforce the law and investigate the murder of these two persons. All attacks against journalists in our country must stop.

Slovakian Union of Journalists

If the link to [Jan’s] death due to his investigative work is proven, this would be a very worrying signal for journalism in the European Union. We urge the authorities to resolve the case and make sure that the mastermind is brought to justice.

Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, President, European Union of Journalists

This murder was an attack on the basic principle of a lawful democratic state and on freedom of speech and the press, which are among the constitutional rights of Slovak citizens. This is clearly also a dire consequence of the climate engendered by systematic long-term aggressive verbal attacks on journalists by various leading state representatives. At the same time, we are asking precisely how Slovakia protects those who put themselves at risk when uncovering anti-social activities or wrongdoing?

Slovak Section, Association of European Journalists