Concern over missing Nepal radio reporter

New York, July 1, 2010—Authorities in Nepal should act urgently to ensure the safety of radio reporter Keshav Bohara, who was abducted on Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) told CPJ in an e-mail message that a group claiming to have abducted Bohara contacted the secretary of the FNJ chapter in Pyuthan, Deepak Bhandari, by phone at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. FNJ quoted Bhandari as saying: “In the background I heard Keshav shouting, ‘Deep, save me. They are planning to kill me.’” FNJ said the phone was turned off after the call, and that the identity of the abductors and Bohara’s whereabouts are unknown. Bohara is the vice president of the FNJ chapter in Pyuthan and works for the local FM broadcaster Mandavi Radio.

“Authorities must act quickly to determine who is holding Keshav Bohara and do their utmost to ensure his safety,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We ask them to work urgently—too many journalists have been killed in Nepal already for their reporting.

Fourteen journalists have been killed in Nepal since 2000, and at least seven of them were clearly killed because of their work, according to CPJ research.

Several Nepal newspapers reported that Bohara received threatening calls after he reported that the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) party was illegally occupying land belonging to the Swargardi Temple, a prominent site for Hindu pilgrims. Pyuhtan district is about 155 miles (250 kilometers) west of Kathmandu in Nepal’s Mid-Western Region.