Third media owner in six months gunned down in Nepal

New York, July 23, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by Thursday’s killing of Devi Prasad Dhital, the chairman of Nepal’s broadcaster Radio Tulsipur FM. His is the third murder of a Nepalese media owner in a less than six months.

Dhital died after being shot several times while riding a motorcycle in Tulsipur, in Nepal’s mid-western district of Dang, about 450 miles (280 km) west of Kathmandu, according to local and international media reports. A group of at least four assailants shot Dhital at least three times in the chest. He was rushed to Rapti Zonal Hospital in Tulsipur, where he died, according to the reports.

Dhital was also reportedly a successful businessman, and it remains unclear what the motive was behind his murder.

In February, chairman of Channel Nepal television and the satellite Space Time Network Jamim Shah was gunned down on the road by masked gunmen in similar fashion. Less than a month later, publisher Arun Singhaniya was murdered when an unidentified group on motorcycles shot him outside his home. 

“The killings of media owners in Nepal are a great cause for concern,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia Program coordinator. “The attacks cast a shadow over the country’s young, emerging media, which faces pressures from all quarters in Nepal. These cases should be resolved quickly to remove the threat they cast over journalists.”

The Federation of Nepali Journalists has condemned the killing and formed a three-member panel to investigate.