Even in her death, Marielle Franco drew attention to the causes she had fought for. The city councillor and rights activist opposed the creeping militarisation of police forces into Brazilian favelas, or urban slums, particularly in her home city of Rio de Janeiro. It may have cost her her life.

"It was clear from the beginning that this was a political crime," says Clovis Saint-Clair, city editor of Jornal do Brasil. "The first political murder in Rio in decades. And this murder was of a black woman from the favelas, who stood up for those who are poor, black and live in the favelas. It was impossible for this not to make a huge impact in the news."

Some news outlets have used Franco's murder to argue in favour of President Michel Temer's militarisation of police powers. Just over a month ago, Temer changed the way some of those favelas are policed, adding a military component in what's known as a federal intervention.

An army general was put in charge of Rio's police force. Commando teams and other troops have been sent in on security operations. Those raids are often captured by news cameras so the media coverage has been extensive.

And in a cruel piece of irony, the murder of Marielle Franco has been followed by calls for even more troops being sent into the favelas. Franco strongly opposed sending the military into those areas - saying it was a mistake.

"The [police] intervention is like a TV spectacle, it's a political power play," says Leandro Demori, executive
editor at The Intercept. "It's the central government trying to draw the public's attention away from other
issues, to raise the president's popularity."

Analysis of news coverage in Brazil starts with right-wing media outlet Globo, the country's biggest broadcaster and by far its most influential media company. So when Globo's flagship newsmagazine, Fantastico, produced a two-hour long special on the killing of Marielle Franco, Franco's supporters were watching carefully.

"After Fantastico did the whole story with the family, at the end of the day, it presented the intervention as a
necessity, as justified after Marielle's assassination, when in fact, she questioned and she criticised it," says
Renata Souza, chief of staff for Marielle Franco.

But whether the people in the favelas like it or not, trust them or not, journalists are the ones telling their
story to the rest of Brazil.

Marielle Franco saw it another way and put it another way, in an op-ed she wrote for the Journal do Brasil: "The so-called sense of security is nothing more than a political and media narrative."

The editors say she submitted that article just hours before she was killed. It was published posthumously, two days later. The piece was headlined Ultimas Palavras: Last Words.

Contributors:
Clovis Saint-Clair, city editor, Jornal do Brasil
Leandro Demori, executive editor, The Intercept
Renata Souza, chief of staff for Marielle Franco
Jorge Melo, executive editor, Mare de Noticias

Source: Al Jazeera