Political reporter gunned down in Brazil

Brazilian political journalist and blogger Décio Sá was shot to death on Monday, April 23, in the city of São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão, reported the Associated Press. He was the sixth journalist killed in Brazil in less than five months.

Sá, 42 years old, was a political reporter for the newspaper O Estado do Maranhão, and author of one of the most-read blogs in the northeast region. He was known for denouncing politicians and the public sector, according to Esplanada.

According to Agência Estado, the journalist was shot six times while in a bar in a tourist area of São Luís. The shots were fired by a 40-caliber pistol, used exclusively by police. One man entered the bar and killed the journalist, then fled on a motorcycle with a second person who had been in waiting.

Preliminary investigations indicate that the killing was a hired hit. The journalist's blog could contain clues as to who killed him, according to G1.

The increase in violence against Brazilian journalists gives further weight to Reporters Without Borders' world press freedom rankings, in which Brazil dropped 41 spots to No. 99.

In the first months of 2012, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has noted the killings of five other Brazilian journalists -- Laércio de Souza, Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes, Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues, Onei de Moura and Divino Aparecido Carvalho -- although because the investigations are on-going, not all of the killings were necessarily related to their work as journalists.

The International News Safety Institute (INSI) last year reported that according the Swiss NGO Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), Brazil was the 8th most dangerous country for journalists and now Brazil is the world's second- most dangerous place for journalists in 2012, behind only Syria.

Besides the killings, threats, attacks, and destruction of media outlets also put freedom of expression at risk.

Sá's fellow journalists mourn his killing, as evidenced by the Storify below, compiled by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, of messages (in Portuguese) expressing solidarity with the fallen reporter.