São Paulo, May 30, 2019 — Authorities in Rio de Janeiro must make every effort to find and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalist Robson Giorno, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On May 25, unknown individuals knocked on the door of Giorno’s home in Maricá, a coastal town in Rio de Janeiro state, and lured him to the street, where individuals in a car shot him six times, according to news reports. He died at the scene, according to those reports.
Giorno founded Jornal O Maricá, a website covering local news and politics in Maricá, and was also the principal reporter for the website, according to Paulo de Almeida Celestino, president of the Maricá Press Association, a local trade organization, who spoke with CPJ on the phone.
Rio de Janeiro state police told CPJ in a written statement that they have opened an investigation into the killing.
“Local news outlets are a vital resource for Brazilian citizens, and their ability to report safely is essential to the flow of information,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. “Brazilian authorities should fully investigate whether Robson Giorno’s murder was related to his reporting and take swift action to bring those responsible to justice.”
Bárbara Lomba, the homicide detective in charge of the investigation, described the killing as “an execution” and “an ambush,” according to local news website Maricá Info.
Lomba told reporters that she believed Giorno was killed because of his journalism or his political activity, according to the news website, which reported that Giorno had declared his intention to run for office in Maricá.
One of the journalist’s friends, who asked not to be identified by name, told CPJ that Giorno had received threats, although the friend did not know the content of the threats or who made them. Giorno had bought a bullet-proof car days before he was killed, the friend said.
When asked who might threaten him, the friend responded, “It could be from anybody, there are so many people … He fought with everyone.”
CPJ research shows that Brazil’s deadly violence hits provincial journalists more frequently than their colleagues in major urban centers.