The International Press Institute (IPI) today urged Brazilian police to thoroughly investigate the death of journalist Renato Machado Gonçalves, who was gunned down in front of his home Tuesday.
Gonçalves was the co-owner of Radio Barra FM, a community station located in São João da Barra, in the north of Rio de Janeiro state. According to reports, two assailants approached on motorcycle and shot the journalist at least four times. Gonçalves was later pronounced dead at a hospital in nearby Campos dos Goytacazes.
Police have not yet announced a possible motive in the shooting, which is the second journalist murder in Rio de Janeiro state in the past year. In Feb. 2012, Mário Randolfo Marques Lopes, editor of Vassouras Online was kidnapped and executed along with his girlfriend in Barra do Piraí. That case, as with a majority of media killings in rural Brazil, remains unsolved.
“IPI extends its condolences to the family of Renato Machado Gonçalves and urges Brazilian police to investigate this killing with vigour,” IPI Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi said today. “Since July 2012, three journalists have been killed in Brazil — more than in Mexico and Honduras combined. This sobering fact underscores the urgency with which the Brazilian federal government must engage with the issue of impunity in crimes against journalists in what is at the moment Latin America’s deadliest country for the media.”
Five journalists were killed last year in Brazil, trailing only Mexico, which registered a total of seven, according to IPI’s Death Watch. Three of those reporters were similarly executed by motorcycle-bound gunmen.
An IPI special report last year also revealed that the majority of journalist killings in Brazil occur outside of major urban areas — as in, for example, São João da Barra — or in the sprawling country’s comparatively lawless border regions.