IFJ Demands Inquiry Over “Contract Killing” of Brazilian Radio Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today called for a thorough investigation into the death of radio journalist, Nicanor Linhares Batista in Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceará after reports that he had been murdered in a “contract killing.”

Nicanor, a fiercely independent reporter, was murdered on Monday, June 30, while recording his daily show Encontro Político (Political Encounter). Neither the exact circumstances of his death nor details of the perpetrators have been revealed so far.

According to the Brazilian news agency, Agência Nordeste, police said that Nicanor’s murder may have been a contract killing, and that the journalist had many enemies because of the critical reports that aired on his station.

Ceará State Parliamentary Deputy, Paulo Duarte was quoted in Diário do Nordeste as saying that he had heard about a plot to kill Nicanor and that Nicanor had received threats.

The IFJ is calling on its Brazilian member union FENAJ to support a full investigation to determine whether or not Nicanor’s was killed because of work as a journalist.

“This assassination stands as a direct and violent attack on the core principles of press freedom and the safety of journalists worldwide,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

The IFJ says that Nicanor is the third journalist killed this year in Brazil. His death follows that of journalist Edgar Ribeiro Pereira de Oliveira, part-owner of a weekly known for its close scrutiny of business and political leaders in the southern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul a little under a month ago.

“Without the ability to criticize freely and to expose corruption in all its forms, journalism quickly loses any sense of purpose,” said White. “The killers must be found and brought to justice.”

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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries