Reporters Without Borders calls for urgent protection for Antônio Fabiano Portilho Coene, the owner of the Portal i9 news website, whose home in Campo Grande, the capital of the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, was attacked on the night of 29 November.
Unidentified gunmen fired shots at the building and threw a Molotov cocktail into the courtyard, fortunately causing no injuries. A hammer was left outside with the words “Fabiano Carvalhinho beaten to death.”
The message may have been an allusion to the murder of fellow Campo Grande-based journalist, Eduardo Carvalho, the owner and editor of the Ultima Hora News (UHNews) website, who was gunned down on 21 November.
Portilho suspects that the attack on his home could be a reprisal for Portal i9’s publication of the same influence-trafficking allegations that Carvalho had published in UHNews on the eve of his murder.
Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to carry out a full investigation into the attack on Portilho’s home, and points out the that investigations into the Carvalho murder and into Paulo Rocaro’s murder on 12 February in this same high-risk region have yet to yield results.
A total of 11 journalists have been murdered in Brazil since the start of 2012. The murder motive has been clearly linked to the victim’s work in five of these cases.
23.11.12 - Website publisher gunned down after repeated death threats
Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that Eduardo Carvalho, the owner and editor of the Ultima Hora News website, was gunned down in Campo Grande, the capital of the southwestern state of Mato Grosso do Sul, on 21 November.
Carvalho had been getting threats since last year in connection with reports he posted on the site criticizing Mato Grosso do Sul politicians and police officers.
“We offer our condolences to Carvalho’s family and friends,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Those responsible for this murder must not go unpunished. It brings the number of journalists killed this year in Brazil to 11. In three of these cases, a link has been established with the victim’s work while further investigation is needed in four other cases.
“On International Day to End Impunity, we urge the authorities to investigate Carvalho’s murder as thoroughly and quickly as possible, especially as there are indications that it was linked to his journalistic work.”
A retired military police officer, Carvalho, 52, was fatally shot by two men armed with pistols who were waiting for him when he arrived at his Campo Grande home with his wife. After shooting him three times, the gunmen left on a motorcycle.
Carvalho, who had escaped a previous shooting attack while driving with his daughter, had often reported receiving death threats and said he feared for his life. As a result, he had a permit to carry a gun and a permit to use an armed forces bullet-proof vest but was not wearing it at the time of the attack on 21 November.
On the day of his murder, he had published a story accusing a military police captain of abuse of authority. In a comment posted on Facebook the day before, he said that, despite the constant threats and harassment, he had “a safe full of new stories, each one more scandalous than the other.”
Despite all the threats and the long list of people criticized on the website, the police officers in charge of the investigation say they have not yet identified any suspects or motives. But they have acknowledged that the murder has all the hallmarks of a contract killing.