On May 14th, blogger and journalist Evany José Metzker was in Padre Paraíso city, in the state of Minas Gerais, checking information for a series of investigative articles about child prostitution in the region, when he disappeared. Last Monday, May 18th, Metzker was found beheaded and his body appeared to have been subjected to extreme cruelty and violence.
The 67 year-old journalist had a blog called “Coruja do Vale” (Valley’s Owl) and reported crimes and political irregularities in the region of Jequitinhonha Valley, where he lived. According to the Journalists Union of Minas Gerais, Metzer had previously been threatened because of reports made at his blog.
Precisely at the time of the incident with Metzker, an ARTICLE 19 team was in Ipatinga, Minas Gerais, shooting a documentary about impunity in cases against journalists based on the emblematic case of the journalist Rodrigo Neto , murdered in 2013 possibly due to reports involving local police. To date, not all those involved have been identified and held accountable.
The climate of impunity for crimes involving communicators in Minas Gerais cannot serve as an incentive for new cases. ARTICLE 19 calls on authorities to rigorously investigate the case, with special attention to verifying whether the crime took place due to the journalistic investigations that Metzker was carrying out. The organization strongly condemns the crime and expects it to be clarified swiftly and with an assertive involvement of local authorities.