Brazilian journalist who covered sports gunned down

New York, July 10, 2012–Brazilian authorities must investigate the murder of radio journalist Valério Luiz de Oliveira and apprehend the perpetrators, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Luiz was shot and killed on Thursday afternoon in the western city of Goiânia, according to news reports.

An unidentified gunman on a motorcycle shot Luiz, 49, at least four times outside of the journalist’s offices at Radio Jornal 820AM, where he hosted a sports program, news reports said. Luiz was known for his critical commentary, particularly regarding the management of the local soccer team Atletico Goianiense, according to news reports. He had recently been banned entry from the premises of the team’s headquarters, news reports said.

“We condemn the murder of Valério Luiz de Oliveira and call on Brazilian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Deadly anti-press violence has been rising in Brazil for the past two years, and it’s undermining journalists’ ability to report critically on all types of topics important to the public.”

Manoel de Oliveira, a well-known sports commentator and the journalist’s father, said he believed his son’s death was related to his reporting and that he had “lost his son because of soccer,” the TV station Globo reported. Lorena Nascimento de Oliveira, Luiz’s wife, said he had told her he was concerned by problems he had had with people involved with the sport, the Globo report said. She did not offer further details. Adriana Ribeiro de Barros, head of the state’s homicide unit, noted the journalist’s controversial opinions and said they would be investigating a possible work-related motive, according to news reports.

The management of the Atletico Goianiense team put out a statement condemning the murder and calling for a full investigation. “Luiz was known for his commentary, which at times angered some sectors of the club, but on the other hand, his strong opinions also informed the club’s decision making and helped Atletico grow,” the statement said.

At least nine journalists have been murdered in Brazil in 2011 and 2012, at least four in direct relation to their work, according to CPJ research. Brazil appeared for the second consecutive year on CPJ’s 2012 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and the killers go free.

  • For more data and analysis on Brazil, visit CPJ’s Brazil page here.