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Brazilian journalist killed after reporting on police abuses

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, November 26, 2012 - The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the murder of Brazilian journalist Eduardo Carvalho in Campo Grande, the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state, which borders Paraguay and Bolivia. Carvalho was the editor and owner of news website Última Hora News, which frequently denounced local corruption, according to news reports.

"The period since President Dilma Rousseff took office has been the deadliest two years for the Brazilian press since CPJ began documenting cases in 1992," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas. "Authorities must take action now to guarantee that journalists can report without fear of reprisal, by bringing journalists' murderers to justice and breaking the deadly cycle of impunity."

Carvalho was arriving home Wednesday night with his wife when an unidentified man on the back of a motorcycle shot at him at least three times, according to news reports. The journalist's wife retrieved a gun that Carvalho carried and attempted to fire at the assailants but the gun was locked, according to news reports. The gunman and the motorcycle driver fled the scene.

Carvalho, a former military police officer, frequently wrote critical reports about the local police and politicians, according to Última Hora News. The website reported that the journalist was authorized to carry a gun because he had been threatened and survived an assassination attempt. Police officials told reporters that Carvalho had been the subject of many libel lawsuits related to his reporting. His most recent story, published the day of his murder, accused an unnamed military police official of abusing his authority to intimidate local citizens. Local police chief Divino Furtado Mendonça told reporters that while no motive had been ruled out, police would principally investigate whether the murder was related to Carvalho's journalistic work, according to news reports.

Ten other journalists, most of them outside of major urban centers, have been murdered in Brazil in 2011 and 2012, at least six in direct relation to their work, according to CPJ research. Brazil appeared on CPJ's Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and the killers go free, for the second consecutive year in 2012.

What other IFEX members are saying

Website publisher gunned down after repeated death threats (Reporters Without Borders)

"On the day of his murder, he had published a story accusing a military police captain of abuse of authority. In a comment posted on Facebook the day before, he said that, despite the constant threats and harassment, he had 'a safe full of new stories, each one more scandalous than the other.'”

Journalist murdered in Brazil (International Press Institute)

"Local journalists in Mato Grosso do Sul informed IPI that UHNews had 'angered a lot of people' for its 'controversial' investigative reporting, which appeared to be focused primarily on topics related to local corruption and abuse of authority."

Journalist is killed in Mato Grosso do Sul (Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo)

"According to the chief investigator Marcos Takeshita, the police are following various investigation lines. Takeshita had not discarded the possibility that the crime was linked to his work as journalist, although the motivations are still unclear."

Another death of journalist in Brazil brings IAPA condemnation (Inter American Press Association)

"The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, offered his sympathy to Carvalho's family and colleagues and urged 'the federal government to assume a relevant role in the investigations so as to put an end to impunity and the acts of violence against journalists in Brazil.'"

Web journalist and editor shot dead (Writers In Prison Committee, PEN International)

"The police reportedly intend to focus their investigation into on whether the murder was related to Carvalho's journalistic work. According to the police, Carvalho had been the subject of numerous libel lawsuits related to his reporting."

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