As four people appear in court in Slovakia over the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova, both 27, the trial is being seen by many as a historic moment for not just press freedom in the country but public faith in its justice system.
Press freedom campaigners and journalists in Malta are hoping they could soon see justice for murdered Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – and that a powerful message will be sent across Europe that a free press can deny corrupt officials the power to act with impunity.
In 2014, worried about editorial independence after local businessmen bought a substantial stake in the major Slovak daily newspaper they worked at, a small group of journalists left in protest and set up their own paper run solely by the journalists themselves to ensure impartiality.
“I’ve never known a time when it was as bad as it is now,” says Beata Balogova, the Vice-Chair of the International Press Institute (IPI) and Editor in Chief of the Slovak publication Sme. “In terms of what’s going on with journalists, we’re in a very unique period,” she adds.