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Journalist murdered in Porto Ferreira following death threats

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 5 May 2007, Luiz Carlos Barbon Filho, 37, a journalist for Porto FM radio station and columnist for "Jornal do Porto" and "JC Regional" newspapers, was executed with two shots fired at point blank range by two masked men who ambushed him in a neighbourhood bar in Porto Ferreira, in Sao Paulo state. He died the following day at a local hospital.

The police are investigating the possibility that the murder may have been work-related. According to local police chief Eduardo Campos, the journalist had a lot of enemies in the city, including among some of the authorities.

The journalist's widow, Cátia Rosa Camargo, indicated that her late husband had been receiving constant death threats by telephone and mail. She added that due to the threats, he had closed his newspaper, "Realidade".

In 2003, Barbon Filho had criticised five city councillers and four local businessmen for corruption of minors. The reporting led to a national scandal, and those implicated were condemned to up to 40 years in prison. However, the councillors and businessmen are currently free.

The Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI) repudiates the assassination, calling it a serious attack on free expression. The fact the crime was committed in a public place in a premeditated and extremely violent manner reveals it was a clear attempt to intimidate the press and to prevent it from fulfilling its obligation to report the facts to society. ABRAJI demands an exemplary response from the public authorities, including a prompt and thorough investigation, so that those who planned and carried out this crime do not go unpunished. Failure to act in this case will invite the repetition of other crimes of this nature. ABRAJI expresses its solidarity with the journalist's family.

This alert was prepared by IPYS with information provided by the Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association (Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo, ABRAJI).

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