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Television presenter targeted in gunfire attack

(RSF/IFEX) - On 14 April 2010, TV Mearim presenter and radio host Handson Laércio was attacked with gunfire while leaving his home to go to the station. He was wounded in the hand while trying to protect himself from the bullets.

The attack is linked to accusations made by the journalist concerning the police in one of his programmes. According to journalist Eva de Albuquerque who works with Laércio, similar threats are common. "The journalist was constantly threatened, but he never took the threats seriously," she said. The day before the attack, Laércio received a threatening phone call. However, the call cannot be directly linked to the attack, considering the number of threats he has received in the past.

This type of aggression is not new in Brazil. The 2009 report of the National Federation of Journalists (Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas, FENAJ) has shown that besides an increase in the number of assaults, the attacks are usually perpetrated by state agents or those working for them. On 27 March, three military police officers were convicted by the São Paulo court for the murder of journalist Luiz Barbon Filho.

The situation for journalists in Brazil remains a concern, says RSF. Journalists are frequently the targets of threats and attacks. Brazil was ranked 71st out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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