Columnist Shot Dead
PEN International protests the murder of Auro Ida, political columnist for the online newspaper Olhar Direto, who was shot dead in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso, on July 21, 2011. The motive for the crime is still to be determined but Ida had reportedly been investigating a story concerning local political corruption and had recently received threats in relation to his journalistic work. He is the third print journalist to be killed this year, while two others were murdered in 2010. PEN calls on the Brazilian authorities to investigate these murders as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice.
According to PEN’s information, Auro Ida wrote an opinion column for the news web site Olhar Direto, was a founder of another news site, Midianews, and had also served as the city government's press secretary. The journalist was with his girlfriend in his car in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso state, on July 21, 2011, when an unknown man approached them and asked the girlfriend to leave before shooting Ida dead and fleeing the scene. According to Olhar Direto, Ida had been investigating a story concerning local political corruption. The president of the state legislative assembly said in a statement that Ida had recently told him that he was receiving threats but did not elaborate on their nature.
Police initially said they were investigating the murder as a crime of passion. The only suspect arrested after the incident was released due to lack of evidence. The journalists' union, Sindjor, has reportedly called on the federal police to intervene because it is concerned that the local police are not paying enough attention to the possible political element of the journalist's murder.
Two other print journalists have been killed in Brazil this year. Five weeks before Ida’s murder, on June 15, Ednaldo Figueira, blogger and owner of the newspaper O Serrano, was gunned down by three unidentified men as he was leaving work in Serra do Mel, Rio Grande do Norte state. Figueira, who had received several threats in the past, was a leading opponent of the city mayor and had just posted an investigative report on municipal finances on his blog. On May 3, journalist and owner of Panorama Geral Valerio Nascimento was shot dead outside his home in Rio Claro, Rio de Janeiro.
Three other print journalists were murdered in Brazil in 2010, all in October that year: Wanderley Dos Reis of Popular News, Francisco Gomes De Medeiros of Tribuna do Norte, and José Rubem Pontes de Souza of Entre-Rios Jornal.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the fatal shooting of Olhar Direto columnist Auro Ida on July 21, 2011;
- Noting that Ida’s murder follows that of blogger and O Serrano owner Ednaldo Figueira on June 15, 2011 and journalist and Panorama Geral owner Valerio Nascimento on May 3, 2011, and that three print journalists were also killed in October 2010;
- Calling on the Brazilian authorities to carry out a full and impartial investigation into Ida’s murder and all unsolved journalist murders as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice.
Send Your Letter To
Sr. José Eduardo Cardozo
Federal Minister of Justice
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios,
Bloco "T", 70712-902 - Brasília/DF Brasil
Fax: + 55 61 3322 6817 / 3224 3398
Salutation: Dear Minister
Electronic messages can be sent via the Minister’s web site
Sra. Maria do Rosário Nunes
Federal Human Rights Secretary
Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos
Exmo. Secretário Especial
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco "T" - 4º andar, 70064-900 Brasília/DF - Brasil
Fax: + 55 61 3226 7980
Salutation: Dear Secretary
Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Brazil in your country if possible.
Please check with PEN if sending appeals after October 4, 2011: ftw [at] pen.org