Ján Kuciak was named as the recipient of the Legatum Institute’s Courage in Journalism Award. Kuciak was murdered in 2018, aged 27, following his investigative reporting of corruption in Slovakia, which revealed links between politicians and organised crime.
Kuciak was an investigative journalist for the Slovakian news website Aktuality.sk. His investigations included looking at allegations of tax fraud associated with individuals close to the then-ruling Smur Party, and links with Italian organised crime networks. On the 25th of February 2018, he was found shot dead in his home alongside his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. After his death, prosecutors stated they believed Kuciak was killed to stop his investigation.
One of the reasons Kuciak was chosen to receive the Courage in Journalism Award was due of the impact his death has had on Slovakia. For more information on his life, death and legacy his biography is available here. Biographies of our long list of nominees can be found here.
The Courage in Journalism Award was created to honour the legacy of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The award highlights the dangers faced by journalists around the world, and to promote press freedom. The Award is presented posthumously to a journalist whose death in the past year was a direct result of their work.
Accepting the award, Martin Turček, an investigative reporter and former colleague of Ján Kuciak said:
“In the past, powerful people did not face charges in Slovakia, but Ján’s precise work… was one of the reasons for tipping these scales… After Ján was murdered, the whole of Slovak society stood up against the corruption that Ján was writing about.”
To access the full event recording, which includes keynote remarks from Christina Lamb and Lord Freud, please see below.
To access our podcast conversation with Abeer Saady and Kate Clark, please find below.
To access the podcast of Christina Lamb’s keynote remarks, please find below.
Photos from the event can be found on our Flickr account.
Lord Alton speech
Speaking in the House of Lords, Lord Alton of Liverpool who attended the event, referenced the Institute’s Courage in Journalism Award during a debate on Attacks on Journalists.
An extract from the speech can be found below:
In 2018, according to the Foreign Office, 99 journalists were killed, 348 detained and 60 taken hostage by non-state groups. Although there are conflicting figures, all agree that 2018 was the deadliest year ever for journalists.
In October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist, was killed when a car bomb exploded after she had reported on government corruption, nepotism, money laundering and organised crime.
The 2019 Legatum award was given in memory of a brave young man, Ján Kuciak from Slovakia. He was just 27 when he was murdered, along with his fiancée, following an investigation in which he linked the Italian mafia to the City of London and Slovakian senior government advisors. His reporting led to the fall of the Slovakian Government and rallied many in the nation to get behind press freedom.