The reporter, more commonly known as Paulo Rocaro, was
driving home at around 11:30 p.m. in Ponta Porá, a city near Brazil’s border
with Paraguay, when two men on a motorcycle shot him at least five times,
according to news
Rocaro, 51, was the editor of the local daily Jornal Da
Praça and the news website Mercosul News,
as well as a correspondent for the national newspapers Jornal Correio do
Estado and Jornal O Progresso de Dourados, according to news
reports. He frequently wrote about local politics, news reports
Cándido Figueredo, a reporter for the Paraguayan daily ABC
Color and Rocaro’s friend, said the journalist had been highly
critical of the local mayor, and supported the campaign of an opposition
mayoral candidate. Rocaro was leaving the candidate’s house when he was
murdered, Figueredo reported. The crime could have been motivated by Rocaro’s political activism, one local journalist told CPJ.
Figueredo, who worked on the Paraguayan side of the border
in the town of Pedro Juan Caballero, has received numerous death threats in the
past decade, according to CPJ research. Authorities also intercepted a phone
call between criminals in Brazil who discussed killing him, CPJ research shows.
The Ponta Porá police chief told reporters
police were investigating a possible connection between the cases of both
journalists, but said there was no evidence yet to support the theory.
Police officials told
reporters they were investigating the crime as a contract killing, and were
looking into Rocaro’s journalism as a motive, among others, news reports said.
The journalist’s colleagues said that although he had reported on sensitive
topics for years, writing a book about hitmen in the Paraguayan-Brazilian
border area 10 years ago, he was well-liked and had not received threats, Mercosul
The border is particularly dangerous for journalists, CPJ research shows.