Critical Brazilian blogger shot in Rio

New York, March 24, 2011The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Brazilian authorities today to conduct a thorough investigation into Wednesday’s shooting of blogger Ricardo Gama and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ricardo Gama, 40, was shot late Wednesday morning in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana area, the local press reported. According to police reports, Gama was shot in the head, neck, and chest by an unidentified gunman in a silver car. Gama was immediately taken to a nearby hospital by local residents and underwent surgery that night, news reports said. The blogger was in stable condition after surgery, but needed a machine to help him breathe, local media reported.

Gama, a blogger and lawyer, is known for his critical reporting and commentary on government officials in Rio de Janeiro state and on police corruption throughout the country, the São Paulo-based news daily Folha reported.

“Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate this ruthless attack on blogger Ricardo Gama and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Reporters in Brazil must be able to report on official corruption without fear of physical retribution.”

According to the news website UOL, Rio de Janeiro’s 12th police precinct is investigating whether the shooting was politically motivated given Gama’s outspoken critiques of local and state politicians.