UNESCO chief condemns murder of Nepalese journalist

12 February 2008
UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder last month of Nepalese journalist Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha.

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder last month of Nepalese journalist Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha.

The 57-year old publisher of two local weeklies was shot in the back on the evening of 12 January while with his brother in a town near Birgunj on the border with India. A man who said he was the local representative of the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha militia claimed responsibility for the murder, saying Mr. Shrestha was killed because he was a “pahadi” journalist, meaning from the hill region and not the southern plains population.

“I condemn the murder of Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha,” Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement. “Through him, the murderers were obviously standing against freedom of expression but also against an ethnic group they are in conflict with.”

The head of the Paris-based agency said the targeting of journalists “must cease in order for Nepal to reach, at long last, democracy and the rule of law.”

According to IFEX, violence against journalists increased drastically in 2007 in areas where armed groups claiming to defend the Madhesi, the people of the south, have launched protest movements. Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha has been involved in dozens of cases of threats and violence since its creation in August 2006.

 

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