São Paulo: Verdict in Freelance News Photographer Slaying


G1/Globo video on Barbon [Barbom], the journalist murdered in Porto Ferreira in the interior of São Paulo. Not viewable on my platform. If journalists without college degrees or a license to practice journalism are not real journalists, then the fact that the diploma-less Barbon was assassinated because of reporting he published does not count as the murder of a journalist. Or so the Brazilian national union for journalists continues to reason. Just makes you want to break out into a rousing chorus of “Solidarity Forever,” don’t it? See also Brazil: Who Is a Journalist? New Cases in Point.

Acusado de matar fotógrafo é condenado a 25 anos de prisão (G1): A man accused of murdering a freelance photographer for Época (Editora Globo) magazine four years ago is found guilty of the crime.

At the same rate, we will have a result in the case of the assassination of the Porto Ferreira (SP) journalist Barbon in 2011 or 2012. See

Um júri popular condenou a 25 anos de prisão em regime fechado o homem acusado de matar o fotógrafo Luiz Antônio da Costa, de 36 anos, em julho de 2003, quando a vítima trabalhava para a revista Época. Ele foi assassinado com um tiro à queima-roupa. A audiência aconteceu na quinta-feira (29) no Fórum de São Bernardo do Campo, no ABC paulista, cidade onde o crime ocorreu.

A popular jury sentenced to 25 years the man who killed photographer Luiz Antônio da Costa, 36, in July 2003, when the victim was working for Época magazine. He was killed with a gunshot at point-blank range. The sentencing hearing took place on November 29 at the São Bernardo do Campo courthouse in the ABC region, the city where the crime took place.

Foram oito horas de julgamento. Promotoria e defesa usaram todo o tempo disponível para tentar convencer os jurados. O advogado do réu alegou inocência, apesar de ele ter confessado o crime à polícia e à Justiça. Ao final, Renato Lyra foi condenado pelos crimes de homicídio qualificado e pelo roubo a um posto de combustíveis.

The proceedings lasted 8 hours. Prosecution and defense used the time to try to persuade the juries. The defendant’s attorney pled not guilty, though he confessed the crime to the police and to the court. In the end, Renato Lyra was fond guilty of homicide and the gas-station robbery.

Or Lira, as a lot of the contemporary coverage had it.

The Observatório da Imprensa registered official reactions from Globo, FENAJ, ANJ, RSF, and others at the time.

A vítima fazia uma reportagem sobre a ocupação de um terreno por integrantes do Movimento dos Sem-teto. Perto do local, houve um assalto a um posto de combustíveis.

The victim was working on a report about the occupation of a property [belonging to Volkswagen] by the Homeless Workers Movement. Near the location, there was an armed robbery of a gas station.

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Agora SP photo taken shortly after the shooting.

Os bandidos desconfiaram que o fotógrafo tivesse registrado a ação. Eles se infiltraram entre os integrantes do movimento. Lyra teria então tentado arrancar a câmera de Costa. Em seguida, atirou no peito dele e fugiu. O acusado foi reconhecido por uma foto tirada por outro fotógrafo, momentos depois do crime.

The bandits suspected the photographer had recorded their actions. They infiltrated themselves among members of the movement. Lyra tried to take the camera away from Costa. He then fired into his chest and fled. The accused was recognized from a photo taken by another photographer, moments after the crime.

The Folha reported at the time:

As primeiras informações são de que ele teria levado um tiro nas costas quando ele e outros três profissionais de outros órgãos de imprensa conversavam com duas lideranças do MTST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto), responsável pela invasão.

Preliminary information is that he was shot in the back while he and another three journalists from other news organizations were talking with two MTST leaders who were responsible for the invasion.

Preliminary information was that Brad Will was shot in the back as well.

The MTST registered anger over what they claimed were attempts to equate the common criminals with their nonviolent social movement, citing TV reports that allegedly created fear, uncertainty and doubt about whether a common criminal or an MTST security guard had committed the crime.

I am trying to locate some of the reports they were talking about.

Those two years were a particularly bad spell for Brazilian journalists.

TV Globo’s Tim Lopes had been killed in 2002 trying to produce a hidden-camera report on the sexual abuse of minors at a baile funk in a Rio shantytown. See also

Edgar Ribeiro Pereira de Oliveira, publisher of the Boca do Povo, was murdered in Campo Grande (Mato Grosso do Sul) on June 9, 2003. From the RSF report:

O semanário publicava regularmente reportagens polêmicas sobre tráfico de drogas, corrupção e crimes cometidos por assassinos profissionais, denunciando, com freqüência, práticas fraudulentas por parte de políticos e empresários. Também neste caso, colegas do jornalista denunciam suas práticas jornalísticas, acusando-o de chantagem.

The weekly regularly published controversial reports on drug trafficking, corruption and crimes committed by professional assassins, frequently denouncing fraudulent practices by politicians and business owners. Also in this case, colleagues of the journalist denounced his journalistic practices, accusing him of blackmail.

That bears looking into. Compare

A cousin of former presidential candidate Alckmin who works as a radio host was shot recently as well here in São Paulo. His programming is said to be similar.

The publisher of the Folha do Estado in Mato Grosso do Sul, Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima, Jr., had been assassinated the previous year.

He had referred in print to the bicheiro known as “The Commander” as “the Al Capone of Cuiabá.” See

A radio journalist in Ceara, shotgunned in his car.

And Vera Pinheiro notes this case in São Paulo:

26 de janeiro de 2003 – O repórter-fotográfico Gilberto Marques e o repórter Ciro Bonilha, do jornal Agora São Paulo, foram agredidos e roubados por um grupo de pessoas que participou do enterro do rapper Mauro Mateus dos Santos, o Sabotage, no Cemitério Campo Grande, zona sul de São Paulo. Quando a equipe de reportagem chegou ao cemitério, pessoas que se diziam amigas do rapper ameaçaram Bonilha e Marques dizendo que estavam proibidas fotos do enterro. Diante disso, o fotógrafo guardou o equipamento. A família já havia solicitado à direção do cemitério para que não fosse permitida a entrada da imprensa. No entanto, um amigo do rapper assassinado permitiu que Marques e Bonilha entrassem no velório, contanto que não fossem feitas imagens e entrevistas. No momento que os jornalistas se aproximaram no caixão, um familiar alertou aos demais na sala sobre a presença deles. Com isso, Bonilha e Marques mantiveram distância durante o cortejo. O fotógrafo foi até o lado de fora do cemitério para fazer imagens das pessoas que assistiam o enterro.

January 26, 2003: News photographer Gilberto Marques and reporter Ciro Bonilha of Agora São Paulo (Folha Group) were assaulted and robbed by a group of persons attending the funeral of rapper Mauro Mateus dos Santos, known as Sabotage, in the Campo Grande cemetery in the southern zone of São Paulo. When the news team arrived at the cemetery, people who said they were friends of the rapper threatened the two, saying photos of the funeral were not permitted. Given this, the photographer put his equipment away. The family had asked cemetery management not to let the press enter. However, a friend of the slain rapper let Marques and Bonilha enter the wake, so long as no images or interviews were taken. As the journalists approached the coffin, a family member alerted others in the room to their presence, and the two kept their distance during the funeral procession. The photographer went outside the cemetery to take pictures of persons attending the funeral.

Instantes depois, Marques foi abordado por um homem que exigiu os filmes dele. O fotógrafo explicou que não havia feito fotos dentro do cemitério, como a família pediu, e se negou a entregar o material. Em seguida, os repórteres decidiram sair do local e pediram a um guarda civil metropolitano que os acompanhasse. Mas o guarda nem chegou a ir até o carro. Quando o carro da reportagem preparava-se para sair, cerca de 10 homens abriram as portas do veículo gritando “Dêem a fita”. Eles puxaram, já com as portas abertas, a bolsa com material de Marques, que ainda levou socos e pontapés. Outro integrante do grupo agressor se dirigiu a Bonilha, levantou a camisa e exibiu uma arma presa à cintura. Em seguida, ele tomou a bolsa de repórter, na qual havia documentos pessoais, talão de cheques, cartões bancários e o crachá de identificação. Quando os guardas chegaram armados, o grupo de espalhou e todos os agressores conseguiram fugir. Marques sofreu escoriações no rosto e nos braços, além de ficar com um hematoma na cabeça. O caso foi registrado no 27º DP (Campo Belo), mas a investigação foi designada para o 99º DP (Congonhas).

Moments later, Marques was approached by a man who demanded his film. The photographer explained he had taken no photos inside the cemetery, as the family had requested, and refused to hand over the material. The reporters then decided to leave the area and asked a civil guard to escort them. As they were preparing to leave in a car from the newspaper, some 10 men opened the doors and began shouting, “Give us the film.” They tugged at the bag carried by Marques, who also received punches and kicks. Another member of the group went up to Bonilha, lifted his shirt, and flashed a pistol in his waistband. He then took the reporter’s bag, which contained personal ocuments, a checkbook, credit cards and his ID badge. When armed guards arrived, the group scattered and all the aggressors got away. Marques suffered scratches on his face and arms and a bruise on his head. The complaint was booked at the 27th Police District (Campo Belo) but the investigation was assigned to the 99th DP (Congonhas).

Caco Barcellos recounts a similar incident, from personal experience, in his book Rota 66.

It seems that the popular perception that the news media is viciously biased — perceptions that are not always without foundation — can create occupational hazards for journalists in the field.

We watched on TV as local journalists recorded the São Paulo “shock troop” “confronting” a “violent demonstration” on the Avenida Paulista a while back, for example. See

In most “confrontations,” the opposing forces are facing one another, and moving towards one another. You could clearly see that the police were firing into the rear guard of an organized protest march that had already passed, and was dispersing into the Trianon-MASP subway station.

Speaking of shooting people in the back.

Another case from the same incident: The tabloid photo caption reads, “Man protests on the Avenida Paulista.”

Depicted: Man curled up on the ground receives jackboots to the brisket from several PMs.

Kind of a masochistic form of protest.

Vandals in the conflict zone took the opportunity to smash up some Globo cars and equipment on the scene.

You sometimes hear people here arguing that, for that reason, the media should never be criticized for its vicious bias.

Because such criticism puts journalists (and private property, such as expensive equipment, perhaps more importantly) at risk.

But you also hear calls not to blame journalists for the editorial decisions they must abide by in order to keep their jobs.

The job market is tight, the consquences of unemployment dire, and because the news media is controlled by a cartel here, a handful of employers control the vast majority of the jobs.

This is a very important point to keep in mind as well.

It sucks to be a Brazilian journalist.

The Brazilian journalist does not feel free to write. More than just having to follow the editorial line of the publications they work for, the complaints principally have to do with coercion by political or business groups. –“A Profile of the Brazilian Journalist”

But it should not, for that reason, be forgotten that the press as a whole — and rank and file journalists bear the brunt of it — gets mired in the reputational swamp created when the Ali Kamels and Marcio Aiths of the world abuse the goodwill of the reading public with their programmatic dishonesty.

Brazilian journalism remains lousy with lynch mob and gabbling moral panic journalism that borders on pure, screeching, brain damage-inducing noise.

And there are people here who actually celebrate noise as a good thing. See

Toxic sludge is good for you.

And this case from Rio: the price of not supporting your local xerifado.

27 de maio de 2003 – Dois jornalistas do jornal O Globo – a repórter Gabriela Temer e o fotógrafo Marco Antonio Cavalcanti -, foram agredidos pelo soldado Cláudio Santos de Oliveira, do 31 BPM (Recreio, Rio de Janeiro/RJ) quando faziam reportagem sobre violência na Barra da Tijuca. Depois de ofender verbalmente, o militar imobilizou com uma gravata os dois profissionais, que flagraram um polígono de segurança — onde Santos deveria estar — vazio, O soldado Santos acusou os jornalistas de tentarem desmoralizar a PM. Xingando os repórteres, obrigou Gabriela e Cavalcanti, identificados com crachás, a entrarem no carro da PM. Ele aplicou uma gravata na repórter e tentou tomar a máquina do fotógrafo, que teve o braço torcido. Os jornalistas foram levados para a 16a DP sob a acusação de desacato a autoridade. Com hematomas nos braços, a repórter fez exame de corpo de delito no Instituto Médico-Legal.

Two journalists from O Globo — reporter Temer and photographer Cavalcanti — were assaulted by military police trooper Santos de Oliveira of the 31st Battalion (Recreio das Bandeirantes, Rio) as they were working on a report on violence in the Barra da Tijuca. After offending them verbally, the policeman immobilized the two professionals up [with a chokehold?], after they photographed a security outpost, where Santos should have been stationed, standing empty. Santos accused the journalists of trying to denigrate the image of the PM. He applied a chokehold to the reporter and tried to take the camera from the photographer, who had his arm twisted. The journalists were taken to the 16th Police District and charged with disrespect for authority. With bruises on her arm, the reporter was submitted to a physical examination at the medical examiner’s office.

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