Police in Brazil are investigating the murder on Wednesday night of the owner of an online investigative news site known for its controversial reporting on local politics and law enforcement activity.
Eduardo Carvalho, 51, was shot at least four times by unknown gunmen in front of his home in Campo Grande, capital of Mato Grosso do Sul state. According to local media, Carvalho’s wife rushed outside, grabbed her husband’s gun, and attempted to fire at the assailants, who nevertheless escaped on a motorbike.
A former military police officer, Carvalho had reported having received death threats in the weeks leading up to his attacks, which the journalist had indicated were related to planned publications on his site, UHNews (Última Hora).
Local journalists in Mato Grosso do Sul informed IPI that UHNews had “angered a lot of people” for its “controversial” investigative reporting, which appeared to be focused primarily on topics related to local corruption and abuse of authority. Sources also confirmed news reports that Carvalho had been the subject of numerous criminal defamation and insult complaints, the most recent of which was filed in July.
What appeared to be Carvalho’s most recent story, published on Nov. 21, alleged that an unnamed local military police captain was abusing his authority to “intimidate” striking employees of a company that provides cleaning services to the state.
The Association of Professional Journalists of Mato Grosso do Sul (SindJor-MS) published a statement on its website yesterday condemning “any act of censure, disrespect, or violence that aims to inhibit the dignified exercise of the profession of journalism” and extending its condolences to family members in mourning.
“Violence against journalists is never acceptable in any context,” IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills emphasised. “IPI condemns the murder of Eduardo Carvalho and calls upon police in Mato Grosso do Sul to carry out a thorough, open-minded investigation into the causes behind this attack. We are highly concerned about the apparent rise in targeted attacks against journalists in Brazil.”
In a special report published in March of this year, IPI expressed concern over a rise in violent attacks against journalists in South America’s largest country and in border states such as Mato Grosso do Sul in particular. According to IPI’s Death, Watch Carvalho is the fifth journalist to be killed this year in Brazil, a sobering count second only to Mexico in the Western Hemisphere.
As representatives of numerous intergovernmental and civil society organisations gather in Vienna to mark the International Day to End Impunity, IPI repeats its call on Brazilian authorities to fully investigate all crimes against the media and to take serious steps to guarantee the protection of working journalists.
In February, another Mato Grosso do Sul journalist, Paulo Roberto Carlos Rodrigues, known as Paulo Rocaro, was murdered near the state’s border with Paraguay. IPI continues to be deeply disturbed by the lack of justice in that case.