Brazilian Journalist Shot Dead

Published: 26 June 2018

Jairo SousaJairo Sousa (source: Facebook)

By Lydia Osborne

Brazilian radio journalist Jairo Sousa, who frequently reported on corruption and organized crime, was shot dead early Thursday morning as he arrived to work at Radio Perola in the northern Para state, local police reported.

According to reports, two unidentified people on a motorcycle shot Sousa, 43, twice in the back around 5 am at the entrance of the residential neighborhood in Braganca where the privately-owned broadcaster is based.  

Sousa hosted the daily program "Show da Perola." He regularly reported on corruption, homicide, and drug trafficking at various radio stations, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and most recently had been covering alleged corruption in the municipal government for Radio Perola.

"The killing of Jairo Sousa is a reminder that journalists working outside Brazil's major urban areas face the highest risk in the country," said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. "Brazilian authorities must act quickly and credibly to send the message that journalists cannot be killed with impunity."

Local police said in a statement they have yet to establish what motivated the assassins.

Sousa's colleague, Francy Rocha, told CPJ that Sousa had previously been threatened and attacked, and that he sometimes wore a bulletproof vest and carried pepper spray as a precaution.

Sousa was "always making denunciations, always putting himself at risk," Rocha said to CPJ.

State representative Carlos Bordalo, president of Para state's Human Rights Defense Commission, condemned Sousa's murder on his blog.

Since 1992, at least 39 journalists in Brazil have been murdered in retaliation for their work, 27 of them with complete impunity.