When the safety of a journalist is threatened anywhere in the world, the EU does not remain indifferent. They take a stand against the country where the journalists are killed while doing their jobs and demand that the perpetrators be held accountable. This stance is extremely just, to which we give our full support. The EU should never compromise its sensitivity toward the protection of journalists.
This sensitivity should be applied to every journalist and unquestionably the life safety of journalists within the EU must also be heeded. Over the past year, three journalists were killed in three EU countries. The perpetrators and abettors of all three murders have yet to be identified. Even worse, they were murdered because they disturbed some shady groups while investigating corruption allegations in the relevant EU countries.
If these murders took place in Russia or in an African or Latin American country, both the European Commission and the European Parliament would display sensitivity and adopt a harsh stance against the countries where the journalists were murdered. But when the murdered journalists are from Malta, Slovakia or Bulgaria, we somehow do not witness any considerable protests. Do the lives of the journalists killed outside the EU matter more than the lives of the journalists who were killed while investigating state-mafia relations and corruption allegations in EU countries?
In other words, does the EU, who supports the journalists investigating corruption cases across the world, prefer to remain silent about the murders of journalists in the EU because they are afraid of the possibility of unveiling corruption scandals? Three unidentified murders over the past year comprise a grave picture for the EU. All three journalists were killed while they were working on corruption allegations. The latest victim, a 30-year-old Bulgarian journalist, was killed this Saturday in Ruse, Bulgaria.
In February this year, Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak was murdered while investigating Slovakian politicians' ties with the mafia. In October 2017, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in Malta with a bomb planted in her car. As I expressed in my column several times, the perpetrators are still at large. The Maltese journalist was also conducting research on corruption and money laundering allegations. She was murdered shortly after she expressed her allegations against the Maltese government.
The unidentified murders of these three journalists are alarming for journalists working in the EU. While a corruption case not involving the EU is supported by the EU, are professional journalists supposed to be afraid of working on a corruption case in an EU country? This should not be the case.
Last week, during the TRT World Forum meeting, which was attended by Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok, Çavuşoğlu was asked whether he is afraid of the comments regarding the retrogression of the EU, upon which he remarked, "It is not a reason for fear, but concern. Most EU policies have so far failed. Enlargement, neighborhood and security policies and integration processes have failed. Therefore, the EU needs to undergo a set of reforms."
He certainly has a point. Reforms are needed particularly in EU domestic policies to involve anti-corruption efforts.
The EU must urgently introduce reforms to ensure the practice of its own values and principles. Many instances taking place in the EU make us question how some of these countries can continue to be EU members.
The EU must take necessary measures to enable the fight against corruption and the protection of those taking up this fight within the EU. It is evident that the sanctions of Brussels on the subject are not enough. Brussels must implement necessary reforms immediately and hold to account countries not providing protection to journalists in the EU.