MARCH 23, 2005
Posted: April 12, 2005
Maurício Melato Barth, Info-Bairros
Two unidentified assailants shot Maurício Melato Barth, owner and editor of the bimonthly newspaper Info-Bairros, twice in the legs at the editor’s home in the southern city of Itapema at about 8 p.m.
Doctors told Barth he faced up to 15 months of recuperation before he could walk again, the editor said in an interview with CPJ. After leaving the hospital, the editor and his family went into hiding. Info-Bairros stopped publishing, and Barth said he did not know when he would resume working.
Barth told CPJ that the attack came after he published a series of articles denouncing government corruption in Itapema, a city of about 30,000 in the state of Santa Catarina. The editor said that he received anonymous phone threats before the shooting.
Local police in charge of the investigation believe the gunmen’s intention was not to kill, but to scare Barth and send him a message, the local press reported. Investigators also said they had not ruled out motives related to the journalist’s personal life.
Barth said he believed his newspaper’s work prompted the attack. André Gobbo, editor with the Itapema newspaper Jornal Independente, also told CPJ that he believed the attack stemmed from Info-Bairros coverage of local corruption.