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Journalists threatened in Belém and Altamira

(Abraji/IFEX) - Journalist Lucio Flavio Pinto was threatened by a businessman when leaving a restaurant in Belém, the capital of the northern state of Pará, on Saturday, December 10, 2011. The journalist himself published this news in his newspaper.

Pinto, the editor of "Jornal Pessoal", filed a complaint with the police. He says businessman Rodrigo Chaves told him to stop mentioning his name in his newspaper, otherwise Chaves would beat him up.

Chaves is involved in a lawsuit together with the owners of a major communication group in Northern Brazil. They are accused of taking part in fraud involving R$4 million (approx. US$2.2 million) from a government fund. The alleged crime was first reported in "Jornal Pessoal".

Pinto was invited to Abraji's annual conference on investigative journalism in 2008, but could not fly from Belém to São Paulo because of a lawsuit against him filed by the owners of the communication group, Romulo and Ronaldo Maiorana.

In a separate case, the Federal Prosecution office in Altamira received a complaint on December 12 of death threats against journalist Ruy Sposati, who works for the movement Xingu Alive Forever and was covering a story on workers being laid off from the company that will build the Belo Monte gate.

The threats were issued soon after the reporter had arrived at the company offices. He had heard that police officers were escorting the workers from the construction site to the office. According to Sposati, a man in a silver van approached him aggressively and shouted "I'll kill you right now."

After Sposati identified himself as a journalist, the man tried to rip the camera from his hands. The altercation only ended with the intervention of the workers themselves who were waiting to receive pay-outs for the termination of their contracts. The police officers did not intervene.

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