October 30, 2020

Brazil editor killed in rough border town

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SAO PAULO (AP) — The editor-in-chief of a newspaper that crusaded against corruption in Brazil’s rough border region with Paraguay was shot dead, police said Monday, just days after another slain journalist’s body was found in a different state.

Paulo Rodrigues, 51, was approached by two men on a motorcycle while driving late Sunday through the town of Ponta Pora in Mato Grosso do Sul state, where his Jornal da Praca newspaper and Mercosulnews.com website are based, police said.

The gunmen fired 12 shots, five of which hit Rodrigues. He died in a hospital hours later.

Rodrigues’ killing comes after the shooting death last Thursday in Rio de Janeiro state of Mario Lopes, who wrote against corruption on his website Vassouras na Net. Police said Lopes already survived one attempt on his life last year, when he was hit by five shots while inside his office. He continued writing.

The deaths come at a time when journalism is under threat in Brazil, according to watchdog groups.

Reporters Without Borders said in a January report that Brazil plummeted to 99th place last year on its ranking of freedom of the press in nations around the globe. That was a drop of 41 places from the year before, a tumble attributed to violence against journalists.

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