Auro Ida, a renowned political journalist in the west-central state of Mato Grosso and editor of the Midianews website, was gunned down in Cuiabá, the state capital, on 22 July, becoming the fourth journalist to be murdered in Brazil since the start of the year.
Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to his family and colleagues, and calls on the police and judicial authorities, who are working on the theory of a crime of passion, not to rule out the possibility that he was murdered in connection with his work.
Ida, 53 was in a car with his partner, a woman aged 19, when a man on a bicycle ordered the young woman to get out and then shot him six times in the head and chest. The murderer fled on foot and has not been found.
The police theory that the motive was jealousy is disputed by Mato Grosso legislative assembly president José Riva, who was quoted by the Página Única website as saying Ida recently reported receiving threats in connection with his journalistic work. Riva did not go into any detail.
“We urge José Riva to provide more precise information that could help investigators,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Like other recent murders, this has all the hallmarks of a contract killing by organized crime, which has a strong presence in that part of the country. A crime of passion is not implausible, but the police should not focus on that theory at the expense of any consideration of a link to the victim’s work.”
While the risks remain high for journalists in certain regions of Brazil, progress has been made of late in combating impunity. Five suspects were arrested on 3 July in the investigation into the 15 June murder of the blogger Ednaldo Figueira. It is still not known why he was killed or who was behind his murder.