Media owner shot dead in Nepal

2010-03-02 14:00

Kathmandu - The owner of a well-known regional newspaper and radio station has been shot dead in southern Nepal, a home ministry official said on Tuesday.

Arun Singhaniya died on Monday after he was shot in the head by an unknown assailant as he celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi near his home in the southern Nepalese town of Janakpur.

His death came just weeks after another media tycoon, Jamim Shah, was killed in central Kathmandu, although the two murders are not thought to be connected.

Police have arrested 10 people on suspicion of involvement in Singhaniya's killing and have tightened security in Janakpur, a spokesperson for the home ministry said.

"The home minister has ordered that everything possible be done to track down and arrest the murderers," said Ek Mani Nepal.

Media freedom campaigners say journalists in Nepal are frequently targeted, particularly in the lawless southern plains known as the Terai, where Janakpur is located.

Nepal ranks eighth on a global impunity index compiled by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which says frequent attacks by political groups go unpunished.

Uma Singh, a radio journalist who worked for Singhaniya, was killed last year by an armed group and no one has been prosecuted for her murder.

"Journalists in the Terai face threats almost every day. Often, groups demand that we publish particular stories, and sometimes they even demand money," local newspaper journalist Ajit Tiwari said.