UN condemns murder of fourth Brazilian journalist this year

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Officials at the United Nations (UN) on Friday condemned the murder of a Brazilian journalist earlier this week and urged authorities to investigate the killing. It is the fourth time this year that a journalist is killed in Brazil.

Décio Sá, an investigative journalist reporting on local politics, corruption, and organized crime, was gunned down in a bar in the city of Sao Luis in northern Brazil on Monday night. Sá's murder brings to at least four the number of reporters murdered in the South American nation this year alone.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), described the murders as 'disturbing.' "We condemn his murder and are concerned at what appears to be a disturbing trend of killing journalists that is damaging the exercise of freedom of expression in Brazil," said Colville.

He added: "We have long been concerned about the need for Brazilian human rights defenders, including journalists, to be able to conduct their work without fear of intimidation or worse." The OHCHR also urged the Government to immediately implement protection measures to prevent any more such incidents.

OHCHR welcomed the fact that state authorities have committed to conducting a thorough investigation. It also called for this and other similar cases to be treated as a major priority in order for those behind the killings to be held responsible and not embolden by the prevailing lack of accountability for such crimes.

Two journalists were killed in Brazil last year in direct relation to their work, and four others were killed in unclear circumstances, according to research by the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ). Among those killed was newspaper publisher Edinaldo Filgueira who was gunned down after running a poll on his blog that reflected dissatisfaction with the local government.

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