Director-General denounces murder of journalists Ueliton Bayer Brizon and Jefferson Pureza Lopes in Brazil
The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, has called for an investigation into the killing of two journalists in separate incidents in Brazil last week: online journalist Ueliton Bayer Brizon, shot in the State of Rondônia on 16 January, and Jefferson Pureza Lopes, assassinated on 17 January in the state of Goiás.
“I condemn the murder of Jefferson Pureza Lopes and Ueliton Bayer Brizon,” said the Director-General. “Independent media play an indispensable role in fostering transparency, accountability and rule of law. It is therefore essential that these two tragic murders be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted.”
Both journalists were outspoken in their criticism of local developments, Ueliton Bayer Brizon on his news website Jornal de Rondônia, and Jefferson Pureza Lopes in his programe, Voz de Povo, on local radio station Beira Rio FM. Pureza Lopes is reported to have received repeated death threats in relation to his work over the past year.
These are the first killings of journalists in Brazil that the Director-General of UNESCO has condemned this year.
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See also: UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.