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July 28, 2020 - Updated on July 29, 2020

Brazil: Manaus TV anchor ambushed, threatened

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Brazilian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into a physical attack on Alex Mendes Braga, a TV news anchor in Manaus, the capital of the northern state of Amazonas, and to provide him with protection.

Braga was ambushed on the evening of 23 July on his way home from the headquarters of the Diário de Comunicação media group, where he hosts Record News TV’s “Amazonas Diário” programme. As he drove down one of the city’s biggest avenues at around 9 p.m., his car was rammed by another vehicle, from with two men got out and proceeded to punch and threaten him.

 

In his news broadcasts, Braga often makes cutting comments about irregularities being reported in the state administration, and he recently mentioned a federal police investigation into possible fraud and overbilling for hospital equipment that had been ordered to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

 

We urge the authorities to conduct an exhaustive and transparent investigation in this attack in order to identify not only the perpetrators but also those who may have instigated it,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “We remind the Brazilian state of its obligation to protect journalists, who are often the targets of violence in Brazil.”

 

Braga reported that, in the course of threatening him, one of his attackers said: “You tell too many stories during your programme.” This reinforces the hypothesis that the attack was a reprisal for his work as a news anchor, possibly for one of his latest revelations. Cameraman Laurismar Ribeiro Sampaio Filho, who was with him in the car, confirmed that the assailants threatened Braga.

 

Brazil is ranked 107th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.