Bulgarian man charged with murder of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova

Bulgarian TV host Victoria Marinova raped and killed

Local prosecutors say Marinova was raped and beaten on the head, and that they are investigating her death as a murder case.

"While the motive for this horrific crime remains unclear, we emphasize that Bulgarian authorities must consider all angles, including the possibility that Ms Marinova was killed in connection with her work", the International Press Institute's Deputy Director Scott Griffen said in a statement.

Chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said Monday that investigators were considering "all leads" including possible links to Marinova's professional activity.

The Interior Ministry of the German state of Lower Saxony confirmed that a 20-year old suspect has been arrested in the city of Stade in the home of relatives' on Tuesday night and was due to be brought before a magistrate on Wednesday.

A Bulgarian television journalist who had presented a program about fraud and corruption in her country was found raped and murdered on Saturday, police said.

Bivol.bg owner Assen Yordanov said he could not directly link Ms Marinova's murder to her work, but noted her show tackled "our very sensitive investigation into the misuse of European Union funds".

Marinova, who was a board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN - one of the most popular TV channels in northeastern Bulgaria - is the third high profile journalist to have been murdered in the European Union in a year and the fourth since the start of 2017. "Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption", he tweeted Sunday, not long after the news of the murder broke. "We can not downplay any possibility and any version, but if you are investigating the killing, you are looking for a motive", he said.

While Ms Marinova did not appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed hope that the investigation would succeed because of the "work that has been done".

"Shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria Marinova".

The Center for the Study of Democracy, based in the capital, Sofia, outlined in a report previous year a portrait of a state so riddled with graft that 1 in 5 adults, or 1.3 million people, were thought to have taken part in a corrupt transaction, such as paying or receiving a bribe.

They did not offer any new details about the case after their meeting with the local authorities.

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

RSF called for other journalists at the station to have police protection while the investigation takes place.

In September 2018, the Committee Against Assault on Journalists (CAAJ) in New Delhi organised National Convention Against Assault on Journalists where notable Indian journalist weighed in on difficulties faced by journalists during the current BJP regime under PM Modi.

Bulgaria ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year, "lower than any other European Union member" says Reuters.

A candlelight vigil in her memory will be held on Monday evening in both Ruse and the capital Sofia.

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