WASHINGTON – Police in Slovakia are investigating after Peter Sabo, a reporter for the news outlet Aktuality, found a bullet in his mailbox.
The threat against Sabo comes just over two years after the February 2018 murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, who worked for the same outlet.
Sabo joined Aktuality a few months after the killing, to help continue Kuciaks investigations. Sabo had recently reported on international tax fraud and drug crimes.
The outlet condemned the threat in an editorial published in the Slovakian-language outlet on June 26.
“I would very much like to believe that it was a joke of a child, but after the experience of more than two years ago, I know that if it is not a joke, it can kill,” wrote Aktuality editor-in-chief Peter Bárdy. “If they think they will intimidate us, they are wrong.”
Police said an investigation is under way, the International Federation of Journalists reported.
The Slovak Minister of the Interior Roman Mikulec and President of Police Milan Lučansk were informed of the threat, Bárdy told the International Press Institute (IPI).
“This kind of intimidation must be taken seriously,” IPI deputy director Scott Griffen said in a statement. “Threats against Aktuality journalists were not properly investigated in the past, with tragic consequences. Slovak authorities should not make the same mistake again.”
Ricardo Gutiérrez, the general secretary of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), urged authorities to find those responsible, saying in a statement “Two years after the tragic death of Jan Kuciak, a clear signal must be sent to all Slovak journalists, showing that they can feel safe to do their job.”
Before Kuciak was murdered, the journalist had filed a complaint alleging that a businessman, Martin Kočner, had threatened him numerous times.