Local radio journalist shot dead in Brazil

New York, February 25, 2013–A local radio reporter who often denounced crime on his show was shot dead on Friday in northern Brazil, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder and calls on Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mafaldo Bezerra Goes, 51, who hosted a radio show on FM Rio Jaguaribe in the city of Jaguaribe, in the northern state of Ceará, was shot dead at around 8:30 a.m. while walking from his home to the radio station, according to news reports. The two gunmen were on a motorcycle and shot Goes at least five times in the head and abdomen, the reports said.

Family members told the local media that Goes had received death threats recently, according to news reports. The police said the reporter had not filed a formal complaint.

Authorities said they believed the murder could be related to Goes’ reporting on crime. “He died because of his profession. He made a lot of people angry,” said Police Chief Vera Lúcia Passos Granja in local reports.

Goes had often denounced local criminal groups and drug traffickers on his program, according to news reports. Police said on Sunday that they had identified the gunmen and that they suspected the murder had been ordered by a drug dealer imprisoned in the city of Fortaleza but who operated in Jaguaribe, according to the newspaper Diário do Nordeste. Authorities said they were looking for the suspects, local reports said.

“We condemn the murder of Mafaldo Bezerra Goes and call on authorities to conduct a swift investigation, arrest the suspects, and bring them to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “As a wave of lethal violence spreads throughout Brazil, the administration of President Dilma Rousseff must take decisive action to ensure that all journalists can work without fear of intimidation.”

A spike in lethal violence has made Brazil one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in Latin America, according to CPJ’s annual report Attacks on the Press. Brazil was also included in CPJ’s Risk List, which identified 10 countries where press freedom suffered in 2012.

Twelve journalists have been killed in Brazil since 2011, most of them in areas outside large urban centers, CPJ research shows. In 2012, the second consecutive year, Brazil appeared on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and the killers go free.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The text of this alert has been modified to reflect Goes’ correct age.