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A special mention to Robert Fico, the Slovakian PM who not so long ago called journalists 'dirty prostitutes' and, at the time of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder in Malta, was boasting that "In Slovakia, journalists aren't blown up," while being scrutinized for shady real estate deals in his entourage.

Blood on Their Hands? - FP

Contrary to Fico's claims, Slovakia is not an island of freedom -- and never has been.

This mountainous country of 5.4 million inhabitants doesn't make the headlines as often as its troublemaking neighbors, Hungary and Poland, whose euroskeptic, illiberal turns have set off alarms across Europe. Slovakia is one of the few post-communist eurozone members, and it hasn't attracted international public attention "because the government didn't undermine the independence of the judiciary or the media in as spectacular a way as Hungarians or Poles" said Juraj Marusiak, a political scientist at the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava. But when one looks beneath the surface -- and Kuciak was one of the few who had the courage to do so -- one finds a state controlled by a small group of well-placed, wealthy insiders. Slovakia has long been on the spotlight of anti-corruption watchdogs. In the 2017 edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index, the country ranks sixth from the bottom among EU members. And a 2016-2017 World Economic Forum report listed corruption as the most significant barrier to doing business in Slovakia.

by Bernard on Sun Mar 4th, 2018 at 12:16:54 PM EST

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