IFJ Warns against Grip of Violence Targeting Media in Brazil after Another Journalist is Gunned Down

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that journalists in Brazil are in the grip of violence after a second journalist was killed in less than a week. Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, better known as Paulo Rocaro, a veteran journalist, was shot several times and critically injured shortly before midnight on Sunday in the city of Ponta Porã of the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. He died in the early hours of Monday 13 February.

"The recent spate of lethal attacks against Brazilian journalists is most distressing and we urge the authorities to leave no stone unturned in the hunt of Rodrigues' killers," said Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "It is time to stop these senseless killings of journalists. We wish to extend our sincere condolences to his family and colleagues."

According to the union of Journalists of Grande Dourados in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (Sinjorgran), Rodrigues was driving along Brazil Avenue in Ponta Porã late in the evening on Sunday when two armed men on a motorbike pulled up and shot  several rounds  at his car. He was hit  by five bullets  and  rushed  to hospital  where  he  died  hours  later .  

The victim who was editor -in - chief of Jornal da Praça and  the  Mercosul News website as well as chairman of the Press Club , was well  known for his  denunciation of intimidation tactics used  by powerful political figures  but also  the feared  underworld  bosses who are strong on the Brazil- Paraguay border.

Last November, he voiced concern over the safety of journalists in the region who needed to tread a very thin line between reporting the truth and guarding against the ruthless behaviour of the criminal groups in the area. His opposition to violence against journalists dates further back and the Sinjorgran President , Karine Segatto, paid tribute to his defence of media professionals.

She said that in 2008, Rodrigues denounced violence against journalists in the border region who, according to him, " had many leaders, whether in  the criminal underworld, business sector and politics who still believed in the ‘ colonels' approach of intimidation , coercion and violence." He had set up the Press Club to provide a forum for journalists to defend themselves against this campaign of intimidation.

The IFJ supports the Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas in Brazil (FENAJ), which condemned the murder and called for a federal law to punish crimes against journalists.

"There is a clear need to boost efforts of combatting violence targeting journalists in the border region," added Costa. "Otherwise, the area is facing breakdown of law and order with disastrous consequences for journalists and ordinary public."

 For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries