Two unidentified men shot Renato Machado Gonçalves as he was returning home with his family at night on January 8, 2013, in the city of São João da Barra, in northern Rio de Janeiro state, according to news reports. Machado’s six-year-old niece was also injured in the attack, the reports said. Machado died later at a local hospital, news reports said.
Machado primarily hosted musical programs for Rádio Barra FM, of which he was part owner and manager, according to Leonardo Ferreira, a journalist for Portalozk, a news website owned by the same media group that owns the station. Machado occasionally included short news briefs concerning local politics in his programming, Ferreira said. Ferreira also told CPJ that Machado had helped campaign in the municipal elections last year, and had written musical jingles for the victorious party.
Portalozk reported that police were investigating several motives for Machado’s death, including his news coverage and involvement in local politics. Police were also investigating whether he was murdered as a result of a personal dispute, Ferreira said.
Two days after the crime, police announced they had issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the murder, who they had identified using surveillance footage from the scene of the crime. That suspect is currently a fugitive, Portalozk reported.
Four Brazilian journalists were killed in direct relation to their work in 2012, the highest number in the region, according to CPJ’s year-end analysis. Brazil ranks 11th on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.