CPJ concerned by threats reported by Nepalese journalist

New York, December 1, 2010–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by a violent attack and continuing threats against Nepalese journalist Shreedeep Rayamajhi in connection with his online reporting.

Rayamajhi told CPJ that he began receiving threatening e-mails from an unknown sender in June, warning him to stop writing and to erase his profile from online news outlets. The e-mail’s sender did not say what report sparked their anger. On November 16, several men attacked him while he was riding his motorcycle home from work in Kathmandu, according to a brief report in The Kathmandu Post, a large English-language daily. The assault left him with a fractured shoulder and sprained ankle. In the following days, Rayamajhi received more e-mails warning him that he was “still on our hit list.”

Rayamajhi told CPJ that he fears his life is in danger. He said he has stopped his voluntary reporting on travel and current events, including politics and crime, for CNN iReport, global news website GroundReport, and other online outlets. In May, for instance, he posted video and wrote about a controversial general strike organized by Maoist protesters.

“The threats against Shreedeep Rayamajhi must be taken seriously before more violence occurs,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We call on authorities investigate and punish whoever is responsible for assaulting and threatening him.”

Police in Kathmandu did not respond to CPJ’s phone calls.

Journalists in Nepal are frequent targets of violent attack. Three media owners were gunned down in 2010; CPJ is investigating to determine whether they were killed because of their journalism. At least six journalists have been killed for their work since 2000, according to CPJ research.