Nepal Turning Into a Danger Zone For Journalists, Especially After Yadav Poudel Murder

He was planning to launch a newspaper named Ujawalyo Purba. But as he was approaching his dream, Yadav Poudel, 40, correspondent of Avenues TV and Rajdhani daily, was murdered on Tuesday. Yadva’s mysterious killing has once again sent terror among journalists in Nepal, underlining that this Himalayan nation is unsafe for local journalists. During the 10 years of Maoist insurgency, activities such as abducting, imprisoning, and killing journalists have sky-rocketed.

On Wednesday morning Poudel was found dead outside a hotel at Birtamod Bus Park. The reason for the murder of Yadav Podel is however still unknown and police has so far arrested 16 people on charge of the murder. 

Poudel’s death is one such case which clearly shows that the transitional social environmental in Nepal is turning out to be unsafe for journalists. Murder, threat, manhandling and other incidents in Nepal have become common. 

Journalists in Nepal, despite less payment and overwork, are doing their share of state-building responsibilities. Be it from pressuring the government to accomplish the task of drafting a new constitution on time or digging out the truth and unleashing critical political issues, Nepalese journalists are a critical component of civil society.  With Poudel’s death the number of journalists/media owners killed in the country has reached 14 in the past 10 years. 

The economic recession is still hitting the Nepali media industry hard. In addition to the fact that Nepalese journalists are paid less compared to their counterparts in the countries throughout South Asia. 

Tired of the threats and the poor job prospects, a group of journalists carried out a symbolic protest on Wednesday, giving pens to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattari and Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadhar requesting peace and security in the country. 

Government also said that it will form a probe committee to conduct an inquiry or investigation into the murder case. Federation of the Nepalese Journalist is also investigating the case. The Nepalese government on Thursday decided to give around $13,000 to Poudel’s family

It’s high time that the government should maintain security in the country for its media members. If journalists who are considered to be the fourth organ of the government aren’t themselves secured, how can the government continue to be stable?

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Rajneesh Bhandari

Rajneesh Bhandari is a multimedia journalist based in Nepal with nine years of experience.

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