Taranga FM radio station, under threat of closure by the National Intelligence Agency. (Taranga FM)

Nepali journalist assaulted, in critical condition

New York, August 12, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed concern today about a brutal attack on journalist Kishor Budhathoki in eastern Nepal on Thursday night. Budhathoki is vice president of the local chapter of press freedom watchdog the Federation of Nepali Journalists and also reports for sister papers The Himalayan Times and Annapurna Post.

At least two assailants attacked the journalist with knives and sticks in his home in the Sankhuwasabha district, according to the federation and local news reports. He has severe head injuries and remains in critical condition at the local hospital, reports said. The Himalayan Times reported that 10 assailants were involved in the attack.

The motive was unclear, The Himalayan Times said, but the federation said the crime may have been carried out in reprisal for Budhathoki’s reporting. Kathmandu-based Republica newspaper reported that the attack was related to a story the journalist had written on domestic violence.  

“We urge authorities to immediately investigate this ruthless attack on Kishor Budhathoki,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Nepali journalists must be able to report freely without fear of violence.”

Authorities obtained partial justice this year for the 2009 slaying of Uma Singh and the 2007 murder of Birendra Shah by prosecuting some of the individuals accused of carrying out the unrelated attacks, but the suspected masterminds in each investigation still remain at large. Nepal is seventh on CPJ’s 2011 Impunity Index, which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of a country’s population.