The International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest organization of journalists, today expressed the sympathy and solidarity of journalists around the world with the family, friends and colleagues of Brazilian journalist Tim Lopes, following his brutal murder, while investigating drug crimes in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro.
According to news reports, the body of the journalist was found in a cave in a shantytown near the impoverished suburb Favela Vila do Cruzeiro where he was last seen on assignment on June 2nd. He is said to have been tortured and murdered with a sword.
"This is a tragedy not only for Brazilian journalism, but also for journalists all over Latin America and around the world", said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.
Tim Lopes was a journalist for TV Globo and was working on a report about parties that were hosted by drug traffickers in Vila do Cruzeiro that allegedly involved drugs and the sexual exploitation of minors. According to TV Globo the reporter was met by his driver at the favela at about 8 p.m., but told the driver that he needed more time to finish his work. They agreed to meet again at 10 p.m., but the reporter never arrived.
IFJ now calls on the authorities in Brazil for a thorough investigation that will bring the killer to justice. According to news reports, a drug lord is suspected of having killed the journalist. Two of the drug lord's gang members where arrested on Sunday.
Lopes received Brazil's most important journalism award in December 2001 for a TV Globo report on drug trafficking. The report, which was titled Drug Fair and was broadcast in August 2001, was filmed with a hidden camera and showed how traffickers sold drugs in a makeshift open drug market in a favela outside Rio de Janeiro.