Miami (January 26, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the attack last week on the editor of Morretes Notícia, Orley Antunes, in Paraná, Brazil, and called on officials to expedite their investigation and identify those responsible.
The January 17th attack was the third against the journalist’s home. Unidentified assailants broke down the front door of his house in Morretes, southern Paraná, and tossed a home-made bomb that broke several windows. There were no reported injuries.
IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, said, “We trust that this kind of intimidation will be dealt with quickly by authorities, sending a strong message to everyone who resorts to violence that incidents of this type have no place in a democratic society where freedom of expression is respected.”
Co-chair of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Jayme Sirotsky, president emeritus of the Porto Alegre, Brazil-based RBS Group, expressed concern that the motive for the attack could be directly linked to the victim’s work as a journalist and recommended “urgent official investigations to identify the person responsible.”
Antunes, author of a blog that reports on problems and wrongdoing in city government, said he believes it was a politically-motivated act involving “people who are upset by my disclosures.” Two previous grenade explosions on the sidewalk in front of his home nearly a year ago caused no damage.
Sirotsky added that Brazilian officials should investigate and expedite action on other attacks on journalists this month, citing one on January 5th in Aguaí, in São Paulo, on the car of journalist Jorge Chahad, press officer of the local mayor’s office and a reporter for the weekly newspaper O Imparcial where he covers corruption and local politics; no one was injured in the incident. The following day in the southern state of Santa Catarina there was an attack on reporter Francis Silvy and cameraman Marcio Ramos and his assistant Andrei Luiz, all from RBS, an affiliate of TV Globo, as they were investigating accusations against local businessmen. On January 13 reporter and blogger Luis Cardoso, from Barra do Corda, Maranhão, reported receiving death threats against him and family members which he attributed to his reports on official corruption.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.