By Isabela Fraga
Prompted by the killing of Luis Henrique Georges, owner of the newspaper Jornal da Praça, in the city of Ponta Porã, Mato Grosso do Sul, Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French) warned about the "elevated level of insecurity facing the practice of journalism in certain regions of the country," reported the news agency EFE.
Georges' killing during the run-up to municipal elections in Brazil called attention to the situation facing journalists working for media owned by politicians, which are, according to RSF, "particularly exposed to score-settling by political activists or followers." It is still not known if the crime was motivated by Georges' work with the newspaper, which he had recently purchased, reported the website Uol.
"The second round of elections will take place on Oct. 28, and the way in which the campaign has been conducted affects the general operations of several media outlets across Brazil," said RSF. The press freedom group also referenced the case of reporter André Caramente, from the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, who was sent into hiding by the publication after he received threats from ex-police commander Adriano Lopes Telhada. RSF interpreted the situation as a backslide for freedom of expression in Brazil.
Georges was the eighth journalist killed in Brazil in 2012, including Laércio de Souza, Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes, Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, Onei de Moura, Divino Aparecido Caravalho, Décio Sá, and Valério Luiz de Oliveira. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 75 percent of attacks on journalists go unpunished in Brazil.
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.