Crime reporter Rodrigo Neto de Faria became the third journalist to be murdered this year in Brazil when he was gunned down on 8 March in Ipatinga, in the southeastern state of Mina Gerais. A Tweet by human rights minister Maria do Rosário suggests that the federal authorities regard it as an execution-style killing probably linked to his work.
Two gunmen shot Neto twice in cold blood as he was walked toward his car after leaving a bar he regularly visited with a colleague. His attackers did not take any of the professional equipment he had with him.
A crime reporter for two regional news outlets, Rádio Vangarda AM and the daily Vale do Aço, Neto recently said he had received threats and had been followed. His reporting had led to his giving testimony to the Minas Gerais state assembly’s human rights committee in which he accused police officers of involvement in criminal activity.
“We are pleased that the Minas Gerais authorities have assigned a dozen civilian officials to investigate this murder, and that the federal authorities are following the case,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Suspects have reportedly already been arrested. Given the sensitive nature of some of the stories he covered, priority should be given to exploring the possibility that police officers were involved in his death.
“This murder has again drawn attention to the extreme danger that journalists run when they dare to cover alleged corruption or police links with organized crime. Two journalists – André Caramante and Mauri König – had to flee the country last year and, although they have since returned – their cases are further evidence of the need for a thorough overhaul of certain police forces.”