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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JUNE 30, 2003

Nicanor Linhares Batista, Rádio Vale do Jaguaribe

Nicanor, radio host and owner of Rádio Vale do Jaguaribe, based in the city of Limoeiro do Norte, in the northeastern state of Ceará, was killed by at least two unidentified gunmen at around 8 p.m. while he was recording his daily show "Encontro Político" (Political Encounter) at his station's studios.

According to the daily Diário do Nordeste, which is based in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará, a sound operator who witnessed the murder said that the gunmen came into the studio, shot Nicanor several times at close range, and fled on a motorcycle. Nicanor was taken to Limoeiro do Norte's public hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Fortaleza daily O Povo reported that "Encontro Político," broadcast on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., was one of the most popular radio shows in the region. According to O Povo, Nicanor was considered a controversial journalist whose hard-hitting commentaries had angered many local politicians and public officials.

Ceará State parliamentary deputy Paulo Duarte was quoted in Diário do Nordeste as saying that he had heard about a plot to kill Nicanor, and that the journalist had received threats. According to Duarte, Nicanor had scheduled a July 1 meeting with him and another state government official to discuss his safety.

Several members of Nicanor's family who gave testimony to the police believe that he was killed for his journalism, O Povo reported. The journalist's wife told Diário do Nordeste that Nicanor had received threats before he bought the radio station in 2001 but had not received any recently.

According to the news agency Agência Nordeste, police said that Nicanor's murder may have been a contract killing and that the journalist had many enemies because of the critical reports that aired on his station. However, police have yet to offer a motive and continue their investigation, according to local press reports.

JULY 23, 2003

Luiz Antônio da Costa, Época

Da Costa, a photographer with the weekly Época, was killed while on assignment in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo State.

The 36-year-old photographer, who was known professionally as La Costa, and Época reporter Alexandre Mansur were covering the occupation by homeless families of an empty lot belonging to a Volkswagen auto factory in São Bernardo do Campo. The homeless families, who numbered in the thousands and had been organized by the Movement of Homeless Workers (MTST), had been camping at the site since July 19 to demand housing and jobs from the state and federal government.

At around 3 p.m., while MTST leaders were talking to the journalists, three men who had just robbed a nearby gas station entered the campsite brandishing handguns. One of them shot La Costa in the chest at close range. The journalist was then taken to the São Bernardo Municipal Hospital but died shortly after.

Based on witness testimony and on several pictures taken at the scene of the shooting by photographer André Porto, of the newspaper Agora São Paulo, police were able to identify La Costa's suspected attackers, two of whom were captured on July 30.

The same day, police announced that one of the suspects had confessed to having shot La Costa accidentally while aiming at his camera, Época reported. The suspect also told police that the three men thought La Costa had taken pictures of the robbery at the gas station. The police believe that La Costa was targeted deliberately, according to Época.

Época is owned by Editora Globo S.A., part of the giant media group Organizações Globo.