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Director-General condemns murder of Nepalese journalist Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha

12-02-2008 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Nepalese journalist Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura condemned today the murder of Nepalese journalist Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha, killed on 12 January 2008 near the southern city of Birgunj.
“I condemn the murder of Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha,” declared the Director-General, adding: “Through him, the murderers were obviously standing against freedom of expression but also against an ethnic group they are in conflict with. Nothing worthwhile can be accomplished in such a situation, where intolerance goes as far as murder and journalists are deliberately targeted. Such crimes must cease in order for Nepal to reach, at long last, democracy and the rule of law.”

Pushkar Bahadur Shrestha, 57, was the publisher of two local weeklies, “Highway Weekly” and “New Season”. He was shot in the back on the evening of 12 January while with his brother in a small town near Birgunj (South), which is on the border with India. A man claiming to be the local representative of the Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha militia called Nepalese press correspondents in Birgunj to take responsibility for the murder. He said Shrestha was killed because he was a “pahadi” journalist, meaning from the hill region and not the southern plains population the militia says it defends.

According to IFEX, violence against journalists increased drastically in 2007 in areas where armed groups claiming to defend the Madhesi, the people of the south, have launched protest movements. Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha has been involved in dozens of cases of threats and violence since its creation in August 2006.

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”
Related themes/countries

      · Nepal
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2008
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  • UNESCO Press Release No. 2008–09

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