Victoria Marinova's case: Media is obliged to provide accurate information and not to spread hate speech and discrimination

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The Association of European Journalists – Bulgaria hopes that justice will be delivered for the perpetrator of the grave crime against the TV presenter Victoria Marinova from Ruse in an open and fair trial.
Our team mourns the loss of the young woman and once again we would like to express our sincere condolences to her family, colleagues and friends. On the day when the news about the murder of Victoria Marinova was announced, AEJ-Bulgaria called for none of the hypotheses for the motives to be excluded, including the one related to her work as a journalist. However, we explicitly emphasized that no prompt speculation should be made concerning the relation of the case with the freedom of expression, not before the facts have been clarified. As the victim of the assault is a journalist, not surprisingly the accident shocked the world and attracted the interest of international organizations and media.
Today, on October 10, the authorities in charge have detained a suspect and some of the supposed circumstances around the motives for the murder were announced. The media and indivudual journalists who allowed themselves to speculate with the tragedy by directing the public attention towards only one of the possible hypothesis and who seemingly did it for personal gains should draw their own conclusions. Covering such tragedies ethically is a major challenge considering the understandable anger and the emotions that we all have all felt when facing such sensitive news. At the same time, it is extremely important to adhere to the ethical and professional standards have been created to help us precisely such cases. Media is obliged to provide accurate information, respecting the presumption of innocence which should be applied to any person before receiving a final sentence.
Another journalistic duty is not to spread hate speech and discrimination towards entire social groups because of actions of their representatives – the blame could only be individual, not collective. Being journalists, we are obliged not to accelerate the sorrow of relatives and to protect the dignity of the victims of crime. We also bear a special responsibility towards children. Unfortunately, in the recent days, AEJ-Bulgaria has identified unethical media materials concerning the child of the murdered journalist. We are going to report those cases to the State Agency for Child Protection and we will call for sanctions for the particular publications.
The association will not tolerate any attempts to provoke hate based on ethnical origin and we are ready to report such acts to the Prosecutor’s Office, which is obliged to implement the relevant texts in the Penal Code.