BY International Press Institute

Brazil journalist who reported threats murdered

A Brazilian journalist who reportedly had complained to police about threats was shot dead Sunday evening outside his home just west of the country’s capital Brasilia.

João Miranda do Carmo was killed when four gunmen who had called him to the gate outside his home in Santo Antônio do Descoberto, in Brazil’s central Goiás state, opened fire, striking him at least six times before fleeing in a red car.

The journalist owned news website SAD Sem Censura (SAD Uncensored), which covered local news, including drug trafficking, and he was a candidate in local elections scheduled for October.

Local news media quoted family members as saying that Miranda had received death threats. A state official also indicated that the journalist’s car had been firebombed earlier this year.

IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said the case demonstrated the need for all countries to develop and implement effective mechanisms to protect journalists who receive threats.

“The fact that Mr. Miranda reportedly notified police of the threats against his life makes his death that much more tragic,” he said. “While it’s imperative that authorities make all efforts to bring his killers – and the killers of so many other journalists in Brazil in recent years – to justice, it’s also vitally important that the country takes concrete steps to ensure the safety of other journalists who face threats as a result of their reporting.”

Brazil has been one of the world’s most deadly countries for journalists in recent years, closely following Mexico as the most-dangerous country for journalists in the Americas.

Miranda is the third journalist murdered in Brazil this year. On March 10, journalist João Valdecir de Borba was killed in south-western Parana state when two people entered the radio station where he worked, overpowered him and shot him in a restroom. The journalist was hosting music shows, having asked to leave his beat covering crime due to threats.

Nearly two weeks later, radio host Jair Pereira Teixeira survived being shot three times in a bar in the north-eastern state of Ceará. Two young men angered by his reports on their illegal activities were later arrested. Pereira said the attempt on his life was the second.

On April 9, blogger Manoel Messias Pereira, who wrote under the name Manoel Benhur, was shot and killed as he rode his motorcycle in the north-eastern state of Maranhão. He was the third blogger murdered in Maranhão in six months. Ítalo Eduardo Diniz Barros was shot to death on Nov. 13 and Orislândio Timoteo Araujo, who blogged under the name Roberto Lano, was shot eight days later.

In all, at least nine journalists were killed in Brazil in 2015. IPI has linked seven of those deathsto the journalists’ work. However, impunity remains problematic in Brazil and the motives behind at least two killings – those of Roberto Lano and Ivanildo Viana – remain unclear. The latter was shot to death on Feb. 27, 2015 in the capital of the eastern state of Paraíba while riding his motorcycle.