Tuesday, May 10, 2011

BRAZIL: Newspaper owner and journalist shot dead

10 May 2011

The Writers in Prison Committee PEN of International (WiPC) protests the murder of Panorama Geral owner and journalist Valério Nascimento, who was shot dead outside his home in Rio Claro, Rio de Janeiro state, on 3 May 2011. The motive for the crime is still to be determined but recent editions of the paper had reportedly covered alleged irregularities implicating the mayor of the neighboring town of Bananal. The WiPC calls on the Brazilian authorities to investigate Nascimento's murder as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice.

The following is a press release issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 4 May 2011 (Spanish and Portuguese versions also available):

New York, May 4, 2011-The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of Brazilian newspaper owner and journalist Valério Nascimento, who was shot to death Tuesday outside his home in Rio Claro, Rio de Janeiro state.

Nascimento's killing was the third shooting of a Brazilian journalist to be documented by CPJ this year.

"Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate Valério Nascimento's murder, determine if it was work-related, and bring those responsible to justice," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior coordinator for the Americas. "We are alarmed by a series of violent attacks this year targeting journalists who report on official corruption."

Nascimento, owner of the newspaper Panorama Geral, was found dead Tuesday morning outside his doorway, shot in both the head and chest, according to news reports. Panorama Geral had only published four editions, according to a local news report.

Police are still establishing a motive for the killing, and haven't ruled out that it could have been politically motivated, press reports said. Citing local police, O Globo reported that the latest issue of Panorama Geral had uncovered irregularities in the administration of the mayor of the neighboring town of Bananal. The paper had also criticized the management of Bananal's public services including sewage treatment, public parks, and health clinics, according to press reports. Nascimento, who was also active in area politics, served as president of his local residents association and had twice run for alderman.

In April, Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, a radio and television journalist known for his critical coverage of local authorities and criminal groups, was shot in Pernambuco state. In March, critical blogger Ricardo Gama was seriously wounded when an unidentified gunman shot him in the head, neck, and chest as he walked in his Rio de Janeiro neighborhood.


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