The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom today condemned the murders of two Brazilian journalists earlier this month and called for thorough investigations of the killings.
Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), issued a statement deploring the murders of Paulo Roberto Cardoso Rodrigues on 12 February and Mario Randolfo Marques Lopes on 8 February.
“These killings are an intolerable attack on the profession of journalism and on an individual's basic human right to free speech,” Ms. Bokova said, adding that thorough investigations of the deaths were needed “to enable journalists to continue reporting without having to fear for their lives and for the safety of their relatives.”
At least 11 journalists or media professionals have been killed in Brazil since 2002, and a UNESCO-backed research project is currently examining the issues facing community media operating in violent or difficult areas in Rio de Janeiro.
Mr. Cardoso, also known as Paulo Rocaro, served as the editor of Jornal Da Praça, a daily newspaper, and the website Mercosul News. He was driving home in Ponta Porá, close to Brazil's border with Paraguay, when two men on a motorcycle shot him dead.
Mr. Marques was the editor-in-chief of the Vassouras na Net website when he was abducted and shot dead with his girlfriend in Barra do Piraí in Rio de Janeiro state.