Newspaper owner gunned down in Brazil

February 14, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder Thursday night of Brazilian journalist Pedro Palma and calls on authorities to fully investigate the crime and bring those responsible to justice. 

Palma was gunned down by two unidentified men on a motorcycle outside his home in Miguel Pereira, a suburb to the south of Rio de Janeiro, and died at the scene, according to news reports. Palma was the owner of the local weekly newspaper Panorama Regional, which was circulated in several nearby municipalities. News reports said the paper had frequently alleged corruption in the local government and a friend of Palma’s told the daily O Globo that the publisher had received threats but had not taken them seriously.

Brazil has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the region. On Monday, Brazilian cameraman Santiago Ilídio Andrade was declared brain dead after being injured while covering protests in Rio de Janeiro on February 6. In 2013, at least four journalists were murdered, three of them in direct retaliation for their work. At the same time, the country has recently made substantial gains in the fight for justice for journalists’ murders, with two convictions for the murder of political reporter Décio Sá this month and three convictions in other cases in 2013.

“Brazilian authorities must fully investigate the murder of Pedro Palma, determine the motive and bring those responsible to justice,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Brazil has made great strides in recent months in achieving justice for slain journalists, but the fear of reprisal for reporting on sensitive issues will persist until the violence stops.”