Brazilian journalist in coma after being attacked

New York, February 7, 2014–Brazilian authorities must immediately investigate an attack on a journalist who was injured covering a protest in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Santiago Ilídio Andrade is in a coma after being hit in the head with an explosive device, according to news reports.

Andrade, cameraman for the television network Bandeirantes, was filming a confrontation between police officers and demonstrators protesting a public transportation fare hike when the device exploded and caused him to lose part of his ear, according to news reports. He underwent surgery at a local hospital.

There were conflicting reports as to who was responsible. Police officials blamed the protesters, but a journalist with the television network Globo said he saw police throw the device, according to news reports.

“We call for a full investigation into the events that led to Santiago Ilídio Andrade’s injury,” said Carlos Lauria, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “In the months leading up to the World Cup, Brazilian authorities must learn from last year’s mistakes–when dozens of journalists were injured or arrested while covering protests–and ensure that journalists can safely cover demonstrations.”

Dozens of journalists were arrested or violently targeted in massive anti-government protests that swept Brazil in the second half of 2013. Journalists were attacked both by law enforcement and by protesters who said they disliked certain networks’ coverage of the demonstrations.