Radio journalist slain in northeastern state of Alagoas

New York, July 14, 2004—Radio owner and host Jorge Lourenço dos Santos was killed on Sunday, July 11, in Alagoas State in northeastern Brazil. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is investigating whether the slaying was related to his work as a journalist.

Dos Santos was killed at about 7:30 p.m. outside his home in the town of Santana do Ipanema, 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Maceió, Alagoas State capital, according to local press reports. A man shot dos Santos four times and fled in a car. The journalist was taken to a local hospital but died shortly after arriving.

The 59-year-old dos Santos owned the radio station Criativa FM, which was based in his home, and hosted a show in which he frequently criticized local politicians and businessmen. Local police have confirmed that the journalist had received death threats and had been the target of two attempted killings, according to the Maceió-based daily Gazeta de Alagoas. No suspects have been detained.

According to the Folha news agency, police are investigating whether dos Santos’ murder was politically motivated. In addition to his work at the radio station, dos Santos was involved in politics, having run for council in the nearby town of Major Isidoro in 1996 and 2000. Dos Santos’ wife is running for council in local elections in October 2004. His family believes that local politicians hired the assassin, Gazeta de Alagoas reported.

During the last two years, CPJ has documented the slayings of two other radio journalists in Brazil’s northeast region who were killed for their journalistic work. CPJ continues to examine the cases of two journalists who have been killed over the last two years in the states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, in the central west region of Brazil.

“We are very concerned that journalists from Brazil’s interior continue to face violence,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We urge Brazilian authorities to investigate this murder and bring the perpetrators to justice.”