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Two arrested in attempted murder of radio host in northeastern Brazil

A Brazilian radio host survived what police said was an attempt on his life motivated by his reports on illegal activity. Jair Pereira Teixeira, 45, was shot three times on March 27 in Forquilha in the state of Ceará in northeastern Brazil.

Teixeira, also known as Jair Kovalick, was at a local bar early on Sunday morning when someone shot him and then fled by motorcycle, according to G1. The news site said that people were able to identify the shooter.

The day after the attack, 26-year-old Bruno Ilário de Sousa and a 17-year-old were arrested and suspected of being involved in the attack, G1 reported. The news site said Sousa is suspected of being the shooter.

Police investigations say the two attempted to kill Teixeira because of his repeated on-air denunciations of their illegal activities, according to O POVO. Both have police records, including suspicions of drug trafficking, the site said.

On the show he hosted on Rádio Pioneira, Teixeira “took calls from citizens who had complaints about public security issues and corrupt politicians,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), which talked to the station’s sound engineer. The engineer also told CPJ that Teixeira took a 3-month break in 2015 after being threatened.

CPJ reported that a blog said Teixeira had relayed that he was anonymously threatened before the attack.

The shooting was the second attack against Teixeira, according to Plantão Alerta. The site said the host had a message: he would not let down his guard.

CPJ condemned the shooting, called for prosecution of those involved and protection of the journalist.

“The ability of Brazilian journalists to report the news is being undermined by violence, with Brazil being one of the 10 most dangerous countries in the world for the press,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, according to an organization press release.

Brazil is ranked third on CPJ's 2015 list of deadliest countries in the world. Radio host João Valdecir de Borba, or "Valdão," was killed on March 10 in southwestern Paraná state. If authorities determine his death is related to his work, he would be the first journalist killed in Brazil for that reason in 2016.

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.

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