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European Union demands probe into journalist's death

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A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia

Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov told AFP that "Viktoria's death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution".

Indian journalists have been facing abuse, intimidation and attacks since years, with cold-blooded killings of Gauri Lankesh in 2017 or Ram Chander Chhatrapati - who tried to expose the rape culture at Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's Dera Sacha Sauda, 16 years back.

Bulgarian television reporter Viktoria Marinova has become the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union in the previous year and the fourth since the start of 2017. "We can not downplay any possibility and any version, but if you are investigating the killing, you are looking for a motive", he said.

Marinova briefly hosted a show on Bulgarian station TVN, called Detector.

"All versions" regarding the murder were on the table, the vice director of local police, Ilian Enchev, said.

The commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, said he was "shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria [sic] Marinova".

He also wrote, "Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption".

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov has said that there was no evidence to suggest a link to Marinova's work as journalist so far - something echoed by police and prosecutors.

Marinov said investigators are now working to identify any "contacts and problems" she had before the murder.

Ms Marinova recently hosted two journalists investigating the embezzlement of European Union funds on a television show called Detector.

Marinova's body was dumped near the Danube River after she reported on the possible misuse of European Union funds in Bulgaria.

No link has been established to Marinova's work, but her death has angered many in the Balkans country where people are frustrated with corruption and an inefficient judiciary that has been criticized by the European Commission. Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a auto bomb in October 2017 while investigating corruption among Malta's ruling elite.

Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov said: "It's only a matter of time before the murderer will be revealed".

"We are running out of live reporters to report on the dead ones", Drew Sullivan, editor and co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), warned of the danger to journalists. The channel was due to air a tribute to her later on Monday.

Journalists' groups and foreign officials, including Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have demanded a "full and thorough investigation" into Ms Marinova's death.

He called on the European Parliament to quickly send a delegation to Bulgaria to help investigate the crime. Those responsible must be held to account'.

Yordanov said his journalists were getting threats to their safety for this reporting.

The murder case has shocked fellow journalists and sparked worldwide condemnation.

Marinova's killing - as a random act of violence or as a targeted hit - comes after two other cases that provoked concerns about press freedom in Europe. Police said she had been beaten, raped and strangled.

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