IFJ Calls for Probe in Murder of Journalist in Bulgaria

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called on Bulgarian authorities to investigate the murder of journalist Boris Nikolov Tsankov who was gunned down yesterday in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

"We demand an investigation into this shocking murder committed in broad day light," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The journalist had sought police protection fearing for his life and his family and colleagues will want answers from the Government."

Reports say that Tsankov was going to meet with his lawyer in Sofia, accompanied with his two bodyguards when the gunmen struck, shooting him in the heart. He died on the spot and his bodyguards were injured in the attack. The gunmen managed to escape.

Tsankov, who had published a book a month earlier about the mafia in Bulgaria , reported receiving death threats following its publication and had requested police protection. He had survived a previous attempt to his life in 2004.

The IFJ says the murder of Boris will undermine investigative journalism in Bulgaria as organised criminal gangs try to intimidate media through show of force and violence.

"There can be no press freedom when journalists live in fear," added White. "The government must guarantee to Bulgarian media the rights enjoyed by their colleagues in other European Union members."

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