People lit candles on February 21, 2019 in Bratislava at an improvised memorial on the occasion of the first anniversary of the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his partner Martina Kušnírová.
Bratislava – Not even five years after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová, according to President Zuzana Čaputová, Slovakia must not give up on the call for decency in politics. Čaputová told journalists today after honoring the memory of the murdered couple in the center of Bratislava. Prime Minister Eduard Heger criticized the verbal outbursts of politicians towards journalists and stated that freedom of the press is the key to democracy. According to investigators, the motive for the murder was Kuciak's investigative work.
Photo gallery: Murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak
“Decency is the last thing that comes to mind when characterizing Slovak politics. The lie wants to legitimize itself as an alternative opinion, with politicians, words often overtake thoughts. Despite this, we must not resign ourselves to decency, especially we must not forget what we are after in the squares five years ago, they called out when we will again make decisions in elections, for example,” said Čaputová.
On the other hand, the Slovak head of state praised the investigation of suspicions of serious crime, corruption or abuse of power in the past.
The murder of Ján Kuciak in 2018 resulted in massive demonstrations and the resignation of then-Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose Smér-social democratie (Smér-SD) party ended up in the opposition after defeat in the parliamentary elections two years later. Subsequently, the police started prosecuting several people in various cases from the time when Smér-SD was in power. After the fall of the current government of Prime Minister Heger in December and before the early elections in September, Smér-SD is the second most unpopular party in the country.
“Five years ago we lived in a country where people connected to the government felt so god-awful that they were able to take the life of a journalist who was exposing their causes. Brave people were threatened just for telling the people the truth. This must not happen again, ” said Heger, who, like Čaputová, honored Kuciak and Kušnírová at the monument to the murdered couple. Heger also condemned the verbal attacks of politicians against journalists, for which even Heger's party leader and his predecessor as prime minister, Igor Matovič, is known. all the Slovak media participated in these lies. These lies continued in the 2020 election campaign,” Fico told reporters. After Kuciak's murder, he questioned the civil protests as prime minister and accused the then opposition of attempting to express no confidence in his government in the lower house of parliament. about a coup d'état.
The civic initiative Za slusné Slovakia, which organized massive demonstrations five years ago after Kuciak's murder, also this time called a rally in memory of the shot couple. From the podium at the assembly in Bratislava, Father Kuciak urged people to think with their own heads before the upcoming elections and not allow themselves to be manipulated. He expressed disillusionment with the fact that, according to him, the political mafia is once again cheating its way to power. Alongside his wife and Kušnírová's mother, he also said that it does not matter whether someone is a conservative or a liberal, but what kind of person they are.
The anniversary of the murder of Kuciak and Kušnírová is also being remembered by the Slovak media, another maps the political and social development in the country over the last five years. For example, the newspapers Sme and Pravda criticized the head of the strongest government movement, Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO), Matovič, for the way he conducts politics after OLaNO, which was aligned with Fico's party, convincingly won the parliamentary elections in 2020.
“Many believed in him, agreed and elected him prime minister. However, Matovič squandered their trust and massive will to change the country. He pushed many to believe that we do not deserve a better future,” wrote the newspaper Sme.
“Igor Matovič created a false illusion of a savior against the corruption hydra. However, his rampage only achieved that some feel cheated by not solving systemic injustice and others perceive Kuciak's legacy even more negatively,” Pravda reported.
The media also reminded that while the executors Kuciak's murder, in which the journalist's fiancee was also shot, and one of the middlemen of the crime have already been sentenced, two other people in the case continue to face indictment. Among them is Marian Kočner, whom the prosecutor accuses of ordering Kuciak's murder.
Slovakia commemorates the anniversary of Kuciak's murder with various events. They also include discussions and the Slovak premiere of the documentary Kuciak: The Murder of a Journalist, which visitors to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival could see last year.