International PEN is shocked by the murder of publisher and media entrepreneur Arun Singhaniya, who was shot dead on March 1, 2010. The motive for his killing is unknown. His murder adds to PEN’s concerns that journalists and writers continue to be targeted with apparent impunity in Nepal, and urges authorities to take immediate action to ensure all crimes against journalists are vigorously investigated and those responsible brought to justice, in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nepal is a signatory.

Background Information

Arun Singhaniya, publisher of Janakpur Today and owner of a local radio station, was shot dead at point blank range by four attackers on motorbikes as he traveled home after celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi. He is the second journalist to be killed this year, and many others have reportedly received death threats, leading to serious concerns that press freedom is sharply deteriorating in Nepal. 

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, five journalists have been killed in the past three years in Nepal. They include journalist Birendra Shah, who was abducted and killed while investigating a report on illegal sandalwood smuggling. His body was found on November 8, 2007. No action has been taken to bring Shah’s killers to justice.

After a ten-year long insurgency, a peace agreement was reached by the government of Nepal and the CPN-Maoist party in November 2006, in which both sides agreed to respect the freedom of the press. However, during 2007 this fragile peace process deteriorated, tension between the army and the Maoists grew, and reports of attacks on journalists and media outlets began to escalate. The Maoists withdrew from the interim government in September 2007, demanding abolition of the monarchy. Parliament agreed to this condition in December that year, and the rebels rejoined the government. The Maoists emerged as the largest party in parliament following elections in April 2008, and the monarchy was abolished a month later. A new Maoist-dominated government finally took office in August 2008, but quickly disintegrated in May 2009 and was succeeded by another coalition led by veteran communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal that excluded the Maoists. Attempts are now being made to bring the Maoists back into the government, but there are mounting concerns that the peace agreement of 2006 could be under threat and violence is escalating in the country.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the murder of publisher and media entrepreneur Arun Singhaniya on March 1, 2010;
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into his killing and all other attacks and murders of journalists and media workers in Nepal;
  • Calling on the authorities to take all necessary measures to protect journalists and media workers in Nepal in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Nepal is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

Prime Minister
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
Singh Durbar
Kathmandu , Nepal
P.O. Box: 23312
Email: info@opmcm.gov.np

Ministry of Home Affairs
Singha Durbar
Kathmandu
Republic of Nepal
Fax: +977 1 4211264
Email: moha@wlink.com.np

Please send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Nepal in your country if possible.

Please contact PEN if sending appeals after April 30, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org