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Newspaper owner killed in Brazil after receiving threats

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expresses concern at the murder of another journalist in Brazil, the second one this year, and called on the authorities to carry out a swift and exhaustive investigation.

Pedro Palma, 47, owner of the publication Panorama Regional in Miguel Pereira city in Rio de Janeiro state, was killed on the evening of 13 February outside his home. He was shot three times by two assailants riding a motorcycle.

A friend of Palma told the newspaper O Globo that the journalist had reported receiving threats. Panorama Regional, launched on May 15, 1994, had been denouncing wrongdoing in the office of the mayor of Miguel Pereira, a city located 62 miles from the state capital.

Earlier in the week IAPA expressed concern at the death of Santiago Andrade, a cameraman with Band TV, who died several days after being wounded in the head by an explosive device as he was covering a protest demonstration in Rio de Janeiro. According to figures compiled by the Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association (Abraji) last year 114 journalists were injured during coverage of popular protests and three so far this year.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, insisted on the urgency of the provincial and federal governments to ensure the protection of journalists.

In this regard, Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, noted that the IAPA has been urging the passage of legislative bills and amendments to the Constitution to bring crimes against journalists under federal jurisdiction as a way of increasing effectiveness and transparency in the administration of justice.

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