Freelance reporter,73,publicly beaten to death

A 73-year-old freelance journalist has been publicly beaten to death in Brazil by a municipal councillor who he recently accused of dubious administration practices.

Media freedom groups have condemned the brutal and lethal attack of Ajuricaba Monassa de Paula, a freelance reporter who was affiliated to the Brazilian Press Association (ABI).

They say Momassa started arguing in the streets of Guapirmi – a state of Rio de Janeiro – with a relative of councilor Osvaldo Vivas, who had been the anti-subject of the freelancer’s reportage.

Vivas, a black-belt in martial arts, is reported to have intervened in the row by firstly arguing and then repeatedly striking him until he collapsed.

Although Momassa was rushed to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital he later died from his injuries.

Reporters Without Borders said the former labour inspector turned shopkeeper wrote for magazines and websites, where he was a vocal critic of the municipal government.

His view that the government lacks transparency and constantly breaks its promises was a popular albeit dangerous one, RWB hinted.

It pointed to a protest earlier this year that saw 1,000 residents stage a protest against local authorities, in line with Momassa’s sentiments. The freelance would have turned 74 in November.

“This is an especially cowardly and repugnant murder,” the Paris-based organisation said.

“It also highlights the incredible contempt in which politicians sometimes hold the local press. We support the ABI’s appeal to Rio de Janeiro state governor Rosinha Garotinho for a thorough investigation to establish the exact circumstances of this murder and ensure that it does not go unpunished.”

In a letter to Rio de Janeiro’s governor, ABI president Maurício Azêdo voiced concern that “the murder will be covered up and Ajuricaba Monassa’s killers will remain unpunished.”


28th July 2006

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