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Nepal


The wife of Philippines journalist Gerardo Ortega looks at his picture. (AFP/Noel Celis)

We received an unusual email last week. Michaella Ortega wrote to tell us that Marlon Recamata, who confessed to shooting her father, Philippine journalist Gerardo Ortega, in 2011, had been convicted and sentenced to life for the crime.

Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai condemned arrests in the 8-year-old murder case of a radio journalist. (Reuters/Rajendra Chitrakar)

Lau Tzu once said: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In Nepal, getting to that first step has been a tumultuous process. Tomorrow, a court in the western district of Dailekh is expected to formally begin hearings in the 2004 murder case of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa.

(AFP/Pedro Pardo)

Almost half of the 67 journalists killed worldwide in 2012 were targeted and murdered for their work, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. The vast majority covered politics. Many also reported on war, human rights, and crime. In almost half of these cases, political groups are the suspected source of fire. There has been no justice in a single one of these deaths.

As Nepal's constituent assembly failed to meet Sunday's deadline for the passage of a new constitution, a new report released this week on the risks to Nepal's media should remind political parties that peace and stability are not prerequisites to media freedom but rather that a strong, independent press operating without fear is a requirement for a healthy civil society.

Chinese official Jia Qinglin, fifth from left, hands over keys to the China-built African Union headquarters to AU Chairman and Equatorial Guinea President Theodoro Obiang. (AFP/Tony Karumba)

China didn't make the cut for our 10 most censored countries. While the Chinese Communist Party's censorship apparatus is notorious, journalists and Internet users work hard to overcome the restrictions. Nations like Eritrea and North Korea lack that dynamism.

Members of the International Media Mission to Nepal with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, center. (Federation of Nepalese Journalists)

On the evening of March 1, 2010, Arun Singhaniya, owner of Janakpur Today newspaper and Janakpur Today Radio, stepped out of a prayer service during a holy celebration in Janakpur, Nepal's second largest city. A gunman on a motorcycle shot and killed the news proprietor, making him the second person affiliated with the Janakpur Today news group to be murdered within a year.

Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal has already lost some support. (Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar)

Nepal's new Prime Minister Jhalnath Khanal should be setting a new tone. Law and order--and with it, journalists' security--have suffered in the seven months since Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned and has been filling in as interim leader. Khanal could be making public commitments to reversing the atmosphere of impunity that is promoting media attacks. Instead, he is struggling to form a new government amid challenges to his tenuous hold on power.  

Beketov must be transported to trial in an ambulance while his attackers walk free. (Foundation in Support of Mikhail Beketov)

Mikhail Beketov is lucky to be alive, although I'm sure there are days when he doesn't think so. On November 13, 2008, the environmental reporter who campaigned against a highway that would have destroyed a forest in Khimki, a town outside Moscow, was beaten nearly to death by men with metal bars. The attackers made a special effort to destroy his hands and left him to die in the November cold. He would have if neighbors had not noticed him and called the police 24 hours after the attack.

Local journalists are often caught in the crossfire of political instability and crime in Nepal. (Reuters)

The times, they’re getting a bit too interesting in Nepal. Journalists who are supposed to cover the news are becoming the news themselves.

Tika BistaTika Bista heard the word “journalist” for the first time while she was still at school in Rukum, in western Nepal. She saw journalists from Kathmandu taking pictures on their way to the village. It was love at first sight. She entered the world of journalism and began her career five years ago. Then last month, the love affair became severely corrupted: Somebody attempted to murder her.
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