Investigative journalist shot to death in Northeast Brazil

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  • October 19, 2010

By Maira Magro

On Oct. 18, journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros was killed in front of his home in the city of Caicó in Rio Grande do Norte state, O Globo’s Repórter de Crime blog reports. F. Gomes, as he was known, worked in radio in the city, was an active blogger, and collaborated with various media outlets in the state. He is the second Brazilian journalist killed in three days.

According to Diário de Natal, F. Gomes was in front of his home when two men drove past and one fired several shots before fleeing. The journalist died immediately.

Colleagues said that the reporter had received death threats for his investigative work, which included reports against drug traffickers and corrupt police officers. The Military Police (the police force controlled by each Brazilian state) have detained one suspect for questioning, Tribuna do Norte reports.

It appears that the killing was related to F. Gomes’ journalistic work. One of his most recent stories had a national impact when it revealed an alleged scheme where politicians were buying votes in the Oct. 3 elections with crack cocaine. In his last Twitter post, he laments that other news is leading the media to neglect accusations against pedophile Catholic priests.

On Twitter, media workers across the country have expressed their shock and anger at the violent death of one of the most renowned investigative journalists in the Northeast region. In Rio Grande do Norte, journalists dressed in black in solidarity. The two top radio stations in Caicó are dedicating all of their Tuesday (Oct. 19) programming to the killing, broadcasting funeral music and demands for justice.

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.