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Brazil6 July 2005

Murder of radio journalist who investigated corruption

Reporters Without Borders Reporters Without Borders today said it was "deeply shocked" by the 1 July murder of investigative journalist José Cândido Amorim Pinto of Rádio Comunitária Alternativa in Carpina, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco.

"We are every worried about the impact of this murder on investigative reporting in northeastern Brazil and we call on the local, state and federal authorities to do everything possible to find out who did it and to reaffirm the rule of law, which is an essential condition for press freedom," the organisation said.

Known as "Jota Cândido" to his listeners, Amorim was ambushed at 6:40 a.m. as he parked his car outside the radio station in Carpina (50 km from Recife). Two men shot him about 20 times before making off on a motorcycle.

For the past 19 years, Amorim had produced and presented an investigative programme on Rádio Comunitária Alternativa in which he reported on corruption cases. The targets of his investigations included local mayor Mandel Botafogo and, on the eve of his murder, local parliamentary representative Antonio Moraes.

Amorim was also a member of the Carpina municipal council. As such he had proposed a by-law to combat nepotism which Botafogo had opposed.

He had been the target of threats for about six months and was injured when two men on a motorcycle fired on his car on 21 May.

Speaking on Rádio Folha, parliamentary representative Carla Lapa accused Moraes and Botafogo of ordering Amorim’s murder.

Amorim was killed the same day that a demonstration in defence of press freedom was staged by students, trade unionists and NGOs outside the headquarters of the Jornal do Commercio newspaper in Recife.

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