/ 27 April 2012

UN’s Pillay condemns killing of journalists in Brazil

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay’s office voiced alarm on Friday over the murder of an investigative journalist in Brazil, the fourth reporter killed there this year.

Blogger-reporter Decio Sa, who covered local politics, corruption and organised crime, was gunned down in the northeast Brazilian state of Maranhao late Monday, police said.

“We condemn his murder and are concerned at what appears to be a disturbing trend of killing journalists, damaging the exercise of freedom of expression in Brazil,” Pillay’s spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists.

“We have long been concerned about the need for Brazilian human rights defenders, including journalists, to be able to conduct their work without fear of intimidation or worse.”

Police said Sa was killed by two men on a motorcycle who arrived at a bar and shot him six times.

The murder comes on the heels of three other such killings.

In February, Paulo Rodrigues, editor of the Mercosul News website, died in the southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul after being shot several times by two men on a motorcycle.

A week earlier, Mario Lopes, 50, the editor of website Vassouras na Net, was shot dead with his girlfriend in Rio de Janeiro state.

And Laercio de Souza, a journalist of Sucesso radio in the northeastern state of Bahia, was also killed.

Maranhao public security secretary Aluisio Mendes told reporters there was “no doubt” Sa’s murder was a hit.

Police said they would use information from his blog, which contained investigative reporting and accusations against politicians and armed groups, to investigate the killing.

The UN High Commissioner’s spokesperson called on lawmakers to treat the case and others like it as “a major priority”, and to pass a law introduced in 2011 that would require federal investigations of crimes against journalists. — Sapa-AFP