Journalist violently beaten at campaign rally in Brazil

A Brazilian journalist for Record News was violently attacked with an iron rod, leaving him with a head injury, two broken ribs and bruises on his body, while covering a rally for a mayoral candidate in Estreito, Maranhão, reported the website Toc Notícias on Monday, Sept. 24.

Reporter Luís Schwelm told the newspaper Tribuna do Tocantins that he was covering the political event on Monday, Sept. 17, when a man surprised him and hit him with an iron rod in the head. According to Almanaque TV, the journalist could have died where he fell but a city resident rescued him. Other members of the news team were kicked and beaten but escaped after leaving their camera, which filmed part of the attack.

Schwelm was take to a hospital in Araguaína with possible brain damage and remains under observation at the hospital, reported the website Surgiu. While Schwelm was attended to at the hospital, his news team received more threats from the same rally organizers.

Along with rising incidents of bloggers and journalists censored in the lead up to Brazil's municipal elections, attacks and aggression against journalists at political events have also become more frequent. Last week, a reporter for a television broadcaster in Ceará who alleged an illegal political meeting was punched by a supporter of the candidate Ilário Marques.

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.