News portal director becomes fourth journalist killed in Brazil this year

Brazilian journalist Geolino Lopes Xavier, known as Gel Lopes, was shot and killed last night in the city of Teixeira de Freitas, in the state of Bahia. He was a TV news show host and director of Portal N3, according to newspaper A Tarde.

Lopes, 44, had just dropped off a colleague at his home when a group of unknown men shot him from another vehicle.

Gel Lopes had been a radio journalist since 1989, a TV host and a city councilman at Teixeira de Freitas. He had recently obtained his degree in journalism, was married and had a son, journalist Joris Xavier Bento.

Following the deaths of Santiago Ilídio AndradeJosé Lacerda da Silva and Pedro Palma, Lopes has become the fourth journalist killed in Brazil this year. It remains unclear whether the victims' journalistic work was the motivation behind the attacks.

"Brazil was Latin America’s deadliest country for media personnel in 2013, with a total of five journalists killed. All these murders have gone unpunished," Reporters Without Borders said.

Several international organizations have listed Brazil as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists today. The increase in violence against press workers led the Brazilian government to announce the adoption of new measures like the creation of an agency to protect journalists.

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.