May 20, 2015 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Investigative journalist found beheaded in Minas Gerais

Reporters Without Borders deplores the brutal murder of Evany José Metzker, an investigative journalist and blogger who was found beheaded in a rural area near Padre Paraiso, in the northeast of the state of Minas Gerais, on 18 May.

The local authorities said Metzker, 67, had been missing since 13 May, the date of the last entry in his blog, called Coruja do Vale.

According to the Minais Gerais Union of Professional Journalists, Metzker had been investigating drug trafficking and child prostitution for several months. He had also covered several regional corruption cases in his blog, accusing local officials of involvement.

Fabricia Nunes, the police commissioner in charge of the investigation, is ruling out neither a crime of passion nor a politically motivated murder, the Minas Gerais Civil Police said.

We condemn this barbaric murder and urge the authorities to concentrate on the possibility of a political motive,” Reporters Without Borders deputy programme director Virginie Dangles said.

We also call for the investigation to be conducted in an independent, impartial and thorough manner so that this extremely violent crime does not go unpunished. Metzker is the second journalist to be killed this year in Brazil. The Brazilian authorities must take concrete measures to protect media personnel.”

Brazil is Latin America’s third most dangerous country for journalists, after Mexico and Colombia. This year’s first media victim in Brazil was Gerardo Servian Coronel, a Paraguayan journalist who was gunned down in the border city of Ponta Pora in March.

Brazil is ranked 99th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

(Logo: EPOCA)