Freedom of Expression

Press Release R78/11







Washington D.C., July 28, 2011 — The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the murder of Brazilian journalist Auro Ida on Friday, July 22, in Cuiabá, Mato Grosso state. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the authorities to conduct a prompt and diligent investigation to establish the motive of the crime, and to identify and appropriately punish the perpetrators.


According to the information received, Auro Ida and a woman were inside his car when at least one unknown person approached the vehicle, asked the woman to get out of the car, and shot the journalist several times. The congressman and president of Mato Grosso’s Legislative Assembly, José Riva, told several local media outlets that Auro Ida had been threatened for several weeks because of his journalistic work. Police authorities have mentioned other possible hypotheses.


Auro Ida covered political issues, and he was the founder of the Mídia News website and a columnist for Olhar Direto, an online newspaper. During his long career he worked at A Gazeta newspaper, for several radios stations and magazines, and as director of communications for the government of Cuiabá.


During 2011 the following reporters have been murdered in Brazil: Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, who worked at TV Vitoria and Radio Metropolitana FM, and was killed on April 9 in Vitoria de Santo Antão, Pernambuco State; Valério Nascimento, owner of and reporter for the newspaper Panorama Geral, on May 3 in Rio Claro, in the State of Rio de Janeiro; and Edinaldo Filgueira, blogger and editor of Jornal O Serrano, killed on June 15 in the town of Serra do Mel, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. In addition, on March 23, journalist and blogger Ricardo Gama survived an attack in which he was shot three times, in Rio de Janeiro.


The Office of the Special Rapporteur expresses its concern regarding these killings and calls upon the authorities to adopt all necessary measures to avoid the repetition of the crimes, identify and punish the direct perpetrators and masterminds, and ensure that the victims' families receive due compensation.


The ninth principle of the IACHR Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression states: "The murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."