The slaying of Sa, a correspondent with O Estado do Maranhao newspaper, came the day after the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) sounded the alarm about threats to the press in Brazil, where three journalists have been murdered this year in retaliation for their reporting. The latest murder occurred around 11:15 p.m. Monday at a bar were the 42-year-old journalist was waiting for a friend. Witnesses said a man entered the bar, shot Sa six times and then fled with an accomplice who was waiting outside on a motorcycle.

"It was a very daring crime. They were hired guns. The people who entered the bar came to kill the journalist Decio Sa. Witnesses say that the shooter didn't even hide his face," state Public Safety Secretary Aluisio Mendes said. The president of the Maranhao Journalists Union, Leonardo Monteiro, described the murder as an attack on freedom of the press. Sa was involved in many controversies because of his accusations against politicians and for his articles about murder trials that he published on his popular blog.

According to a report released Monday by IAPA in Madrid, besides the three journalists slain this year in Brazil, there have been eight cases of aggression against newsmen, one unjustified arrest, six cases of court censorship, six attacks and six threats.