Armed men kidnap and threaten owner of news portal in Campo Grande, Brazil

Journalist Antônio Fabiano Portilho Coene, the owner of news Portal i9 was kidnapped on Monday Sept. 9 by armed men in the city of Campo Grande in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil, website Diario do Estado informed.

After parking his car in the city’s downtown, Portilho Coene was forced by three strangers to enter a black Blazer with no license plates. He was taken to a side road, where he was tied up and received the following warning: "Starting today, do not talk about anyone from this city and this state.You have 24 hours to leave the state, or you will die.” Coene filed a police report and the police has started to investigate the case, according to Portal i9.

This is the third threat the businessman has received in less than a year. In August 2012, unknown men fired several shots aimed at his house. At that time, the shooters left a note that said: “Respect. We have family, we have children. Otherwise, you will die.”

Early in the morning of Nov. 29, 2012, Coene was the target of another attempt on his life. The journalist and his wife woke up to the sound of gunshots hitting the walls of their house. Other three bullets hit their car. Two Molotov cocktails were also thrown at their backyard. After the event, a hammer that had his name carved on it was thrown at the journalist’s backyard. The hammer also had the name of Eduardo Carvalho written on it, who was the editor of news site UHNews and had been murdered a few days earlier.

Coene suspects that the attacks are related to several articles published in Portal i9 about corruption at the State Department of Communication, which UHNews had also began covering shortly before Eduardo Carvalho’s death. This episode led Reporters Without Borders to ask for urgent protection for the journalist.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.