Brazilian police reporter's house attacked by gunfire

A Brazilian police reporter's house was attacked by gunfire in the wee morning hours of Saturday, April 28, in the city of João Pessoa, capital of the state of Paraíba, reported the portal Uol. The attack occurred only five days after the killing of political blogger Décio Sá, the sixth journalist killed in Brazil in less than five months.

Journalist Vinícius Henriques, a retired policeman, was sleeping at home with his family when the offenders shot the house, at about 3 a.m., according to the web site Click PB. Witnesses said that three men on a motorcycle were responsible for the shooting. No one was harmed during the shooting, however the house's door and a vehicle in the garage were damaged.

The journalist worked as a police reporter for more than 15 years and currently hosts a program about police abuses on the radio station Rádio Arapuan. Henriques said that the attack was to intimidate him. “I cannot link the attack to anyone yet, but the purpose was to intimidate me, because I only say the truth, and I'm not afraid of anything or anyone [...],” he said, as quoted by the news site PB Agora. The case is under investigation, but the police still have no suspects.

According to the news site Araçagi, after the attack, other police reporters declared via social networks that they also suffer threats by criminals due to their journalistic work. The Secretary of State Security, Claudio Lima, confirmed that the Paraiban press is at risk. According to the official, the police intelligence unit discovered, through phone interception, that drug traffickers of the region have the journalists on a "black list," reported the news site Click PB.

The Paraiban Press Association released an official statement condemning the incidents, calling them crimes, and a threat against freedom of expression and against a democratic state, according to the news site Paraíba.

The increase in violence against journalists reaffirms the most recent world press freedom rankings, published by Reporters Without Borders, in which Brazil fell 41 spots to No. 99 -- the second largest ranking fall among Latin American countries.

According to the International News Safety Institute, Brazil was No. 8 in a ranking of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists last year, and the Swiss NGO, Press Emblem Campaign, said that it currently is in second place in the 2012 ranking, just behind Syria.