Aged 64, Maurício Campos Rosa had just left the home of some friends on the evening of 17 August when he was shot five times with a revolver beside his newspaper’s vehicle. He died shortly after being rushed to hospital.
The owner and editor of O Grito, a free local newspaper distributed on the streets of Santa Luzia for the past 20 years, Rosa also reported for the Diários Associados media group. A few days before Rosa’s murder, O Grito had reported that several local elected officials were illegally participating in a garbage collection cooperative.
He is the fourth Brazilian journalist to be murdered this year, following João Miranda do Carmo, Manoel Messias Pereira and João Valdecir de Borba.
“How many more Brazilian journalists will have to be murdered before the authorities seriously address the problem of violence against the media?” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.
“The Minas Gerais judicial authorities must do their duty and identify those behind this cowardly act. This latest murder has silenced not only a journalist but also an independent media outlet. It must not go unpunished and it must not be forgotten, as is so often still the case in Latin America.”
The Santa Luzia municipal authorities have yet to comment on the murder. The police have opened an investigation and have so far not ruled out any possible motive.
RSF joins the Minas Gerais Union of Professional Journalists (SJPMG) in demanding a swift and impartial investigation into Rosa’s murder in order to identify those responsible and to ensure that it does not go unpunished.
Coinciding with the start of the Rio Olympics, RSF launched a campaign on 04 August to draw attention to violence against the media in Brazil. This latest murder unfortunately confirms that the federal authorities must urgently propose concrete measures to protect journalists and combat the impunity that still prevails in many of the country’s regions.
Brazil is ranked 104th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.