The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is saddened at reports that journalist Pushkar Shrestha fell victim to a fatal shooting in the Birgunj region of Nepal on January 12.
According to an IFJ affiliate, the National Union of Journalists, Nepal (NUJ-N), Shrestha, the editor of local weekly newspapers New Highway and New Season, was shot in his right shoulder by a representative of the Jwala Singh faction of the Janatrantrik Terai Mutki Morcha (JTMM-J). The JTMM-J are known to be an armed group fighting for independence for the Terai region in southern Nepal.
Shrestha was rushed to hospital but died while undergoing treatment.
IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park described the incident as yet another vicious attack on media freedom in Nepal.
“Acts of violence such as this murder are seriously undermining the opportunity for press freedom to prevail in a democratic Nepal” Park said. “Local authorities must send a strong message to perpetrators of violence that their behaviour will not be tolerated.”
In a separate incident, a representative of another IFJ affiliate, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Krishna Ojha, was attacked by an unknown group of assailants on the Ilam–Fidim Highway in eastern Nepal.
According to Labadev Dhungana, president of the FNJ Panchthar chapter, a group stopped the car used by the Ojha and human rights workers. It was reported that while the human rights workers were able to escape, Ojha was attacked and injured.
The IFJ joins the NUJN and the FNJ in condemning these attacks and calls for Nepal’s Government and local authorities to take strong action against the assailants to ensure the safety of journalists remains a priority.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries