Rio de Janeiro, July 19, 2021 – Brazilian authorities should promptly and thoroughly investigate the shooting of journalist Jackson Silva, ensure his safety, and guarantee that reporters can work without fear, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
At about 9 p.m. on July 9, in the city of Moju in the northern state of Pará, two unidentified men hiding outside Silva’s home shot him multiple times and then fled the scene on a motorcycle, according to news reports and Osvando Siqueira, who co-founded the news website Moju News with Silva, and who spoke to CPJ by phone.
Silva’s wife and two children were also at the scene of the shooting, but were not injured, Siqueira told CPJ.
Silva survived the shooting and was brought to a hospital in Pará’s capital, Belém, where he underwent several surgeries, according to news reports and Siqueira, who said that Silva had since left the hospital in stable condition.
“Brazilian authorities should ensure a swift and thorough investigation into the attempted murder of journalist Jackson Silva, and determine whether the attack was related to his work,” said CPJ’s Central and South America program coordinator, Natalie Southwick, in New York. “Until those responsible for this attack are identified and face justice, this will just be one more example of impunity in crimes against journalists, fueling a cycle of violence against the Brazilian press.”
Silva hosts Weekly Wrap-Up, a program summarizing recent news stories, aired on Moju News’ Facebook and YouTube pages. On the episode that aired the day he was shot, Silva covered police arrests and anti-drug operations, as well as the killing of a man suspected of killing a police officer, among other issues. Silva also publishes articles on Moju News’ website, mostly covering crime and policing issues, but also general news including the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an audio message that Silva sent to the broadcaster TV Record, aired on July 12, he said he was shot six times in the attack.
“I’ve been through a few surgeries. I’ll go through others. Unfortunately, a sad reality. I can’t speak much. But I hope justice will be done,” he said.
Siqueira told CPJ, “There is a big chance this attack is because of Jackson’s work as a journalist. We work with policing issues, cover a lot of crime news, drug trafficking, gun seizures.”
He said he did not know whether the attack was retaliation over any specific reporting by the outlet, adding, “We on the [Moju News] team are afraid, because we don’t know who did it. The police say they have suspects, but they haven’t shown up.”
In an interview during that TV Record broadcast, Silva’s wife, whose name was not disclosed for security reasons, said that she assumed the attack “was because of his profession. I can’t imagine another reason.”
In a statement emailed to CPJ, the Pará Civil Police said that investigations were ongoing and that police had established a task force with “other institutions of the public security system to expedite the solution of the case.”
CPJ emailed the Pará public security secretary and the governor’s office for comment, but did not receive any replies.