New York, December 15, 2009—Unidentified assailants shot and killed Brazilian media owner and radio host José Givonaldo Vieira on Monday morning in northeastern Pernambuco state, according to local news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called today on Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into Vieira’s killing and to promptly bring to justice all those responsible.
Three unidentified men in a light-colored compact car intercepted
Vieira’s vehicle outside the offices of Bezerros FM, a local radio station
owned by Vieira, in the city of Bezerros, 67
miles (107 kilometers) from the state capital of Recife, according to the national daily O Globo. Witnesses quoted in the local
press said one of the assailants walked over to Vieira’s car and shot him three
times in the chest and head before fleeing. Vieira was taken to a local clinic
and then transferred to a regional hospital in the nearby city of Cuararu, where he was
Vieira, 40, hosted the radio program “Bezerros Comunidade,”
which focused on local social issues, O
Globo reported. He also owned the local newspaper Folha do Agreste and a music production company.
Local police are investigating the killing, and authorities
have offered a reward of 2,000 reals (US$1,200) for any information
on the crime, according to news reports. Investigators told local reporters that
Vieira’s murder appears to be an execution by hired gunmen. They do not have a motive
yet, but said they had not ruled anything out.
“We are saddened by the death of José Givonaldo Vieira, and
offer our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues, and friends,” said
Robert Mahoney, CPJ’s deputy director. “Brazilian authorities must conduct a
prompt and thorough investigation into Vieira’s killing, and determine if he
was targeted in retaliation for his work in journalism. All those responsible
for Vieira’s death must be brought to justice.”
In 2009, Brazil
was included for the first time in CPJ’s Impunity
Index, a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and
governments fail to solve the crimes. CPJ research shows that while Brazilian
authorities have succeeded in prosecuting some journalist murders, but those
efforts have not offset the nation’s high rate of deadly violence against the
press. Five murders have gone unsolved in the last decade. In a 2006 special
report, “Radio Rage,”
CPJ found that radio hosts and independent journalists are the most common victims
remote northeast, where political influence permeates radio news.