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Journalist killed in crossfire while covering a police operation

A journalist was killed in the crossfire between police and a drug gang while accompanying an early morning police operation, report the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Gelson Domingos, 46, a cameraman for "TV Band", was shot in the chest through a bulletproof vest that wasn't adequate enough to protect him, according to IAPA. Eighty military police officers were exchanging fire with drug traffickers in the Antares favela, according to RSF and CPJ. The organisations report that nine suspects were arrested and four shot in the raid.

The shooting underscores inadequate safety training and protection provided by both the police and news organisations, who have the duty to protect their journalists, ABRAJI notes. Furthermore, the police increasingly depend on journalists to shape public awareness of security issues, RSF points out.

RSF hopes the tragic shooting will inspire a much-needed debate on the risks of covering organised crime and how these risks can be mitigated by police and media organisations. Massive improvements in safety measures to protect journalists are especially required as the Brazilian government steps up its campaign against drug traffickers in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, report RSF and CPJ.

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