first_img 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies Organisation Follow the news on Brazil April 15, 2021 Find out more Reports Reporters Without Borders urges the police to quickly find and question the leading suspect in the murder of Walter Lessa de Oliveira, a cameraman employed by the Alagoas state assembly’s TV station, who was gunned down in Maceió on 5 January. The organisation also hopes the authorities quickly deal with an alarming crime wave in Alagoas. Help by sharing this information January 9, 2008 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Public TV cameraman gunned down in Alagoas state, revenge killing by drug trafficker suspected BrazilAmericas RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America Receive email alerts News BrazilAmericas RSF_en April 27, 2021 Find out more News May 13, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the murder of TV cameraman Walter Lessa de Oliveira on 5 January in Maceió, the capital of the northeastern state of Alagoas, amid a disturbing crime wave in the city. Witnesses say he was gunned down by a drug trafficker and revenge appears to be the most likely motive.“Brazil’s northeast continues to be a high-risk region for journalists,” the press freedom organisation said. “Without trying to anticipate the results of the investigation, we think it quite plausible that this was an act of revenge by a drug trafficker, especially as organised crime is so active there. We hope the leading suspect will be quickly found and questioned. We also hope that the alarming security situation in Alagoas will be quickly resolved.”Aged 53 and employed by TV Assembléia, a public TV service operated by the Alagoas state assembly, Lessa was gunned down while at a bus stop on the outskirts of Maceió. Citing several witnesses, the police have identified a drug trafficker known by the nickname of “Aranha” (Spider) as the killer. “Aranha” allegedly pulled up in a car alongside Lessa and fired four shots at him. Hit in the head, Lessa died immediately.The most plausible theory is that the shooting was in revenge for the fact Lessa had in the past filmed footage of “Aranha” that was shown on state television. An alternative theory that has been suggested is that Lessa was shot while resisting an attempted robbery, but this is not supported by the witness statements taken by the police, and nothing was stolen from him.Born near Rio de Janeiro, Lessa used to head the Alagoas Union of Professional Journalists and worked for TV Gazeta for more than 20 years. Of late, he had worked for the Maceió Centre for Higher Education as well as TV Assembléia. His death came amid a surge in armed crime in Maceió in which a total of 16 people were murdered in the city from 5 to 7 January. The state police have been on strike for five months for more pay and the authorities seem powerless to deal with the crime wave. Alarm after two journalists murdered in Brazil News to go furtherlast_img read more