Brazilian cameraman hit in the head with explosive confirmed brain-dead

Santiago Ilídio Andrade, 49, a Brazilian cameraman from Bandeirantes TV was injured last week by an explosive device during a protest in Rio de Janeiro. He was confirmed brain-dead on Monday morning by the Municipal Department of health, according to the news outlet Uol.

Andrade was injured in the head while covering the clash between protesters and police during a demonstration against bus fare increases last Friday Feb. 6 in downtown Rio. He was admitted into surgery after being taken to a downtown hospital and has been in an induced coma since then.

A university student that appeared on TV giving the explosive that hurt the cameraman to a third party was arrested on Saturday Feb. 8. The student, Fábio Raposo, was indicted on attempted homicide using an improvised explosive and was put in preventive custody according to the news site Exame. He denied knowing the identity of the person responsible for lighting the device, but he said he will cooperate with the police in identifying the perpetrator.

The Association of Brazilian Investigative Journalism (Abraji), the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ), the National Federation of Newspapers (Fenaj) and other journalism organizations posted stories condemning the attacks and requesting an investigation following the incident.

This is the first deadly case involving journalists injured during street protests in Brazil. On Jan. 25, two other journalists were assaulted during protests in São Paulo: Sebastião Moreira of news agency EFE was assaulted by the police, and freelance journalist Paulo Alexandre was detained by city police officers.

Since the beginning of the protests against bus fare increases in June last year, there have been over 100 assaults against press workers. According to the report put out by Abraji71 of 114 cases of assault (as of the end of 2013) during the protests were premeditated; that is, the victims were attacked after being identified as press workers. Of the 71 episodes of deliberate attacks, law enforcement officers were responsible for 56, or almost 80 percent of the attacks. The rest of the attacks came from protesters angry over large media groups' coverage of the demonstrations.

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.