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Watch Groups Condemn Killing of Woman Journalist Uma Singh

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Condemnations of the brutal killing of UMA SINGH, a Janakpur-based woman journalist, pour in.

Nepal Monitor culled the following releases from various human rights and watch groups. This page will be periodically updated.

U.S. Embassy Condemns Murder of Journalist Uma Singh

Photo courtesy of GroundReports.

January 14, 2009- The murder of journalist Uma Singh on January 11 in Janakpur is deeply disturbing. We call on the Government of Nepal to investigate this crime and prosecute the perpetrators under Nepali law.

Whether or not this heinous crime was the latest in the recent wave of attacks aimed at silencing journalists and undermining freedom of expression in Nepal, it was an assault on a basic tenet of democracy – the rule of law. The growing incidents of violence, many of which target women, underscore the necessity for the Government to improve protection of basic human rights. Only when these rights are protected, can democracy flourish.


Young Journalist Murdered at Home in Nepal: IFJ

January 13, 2009- The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands an immediate investigation into the murder of a young journalist in her home in Janakpur, in the Dhanusha district of Nepal’s central region, on January 11.

According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, Uma Singh was attacked repeatedly with a sharp weapon by a group of 15 to 16 people who entered her house in Janakpur in the early evening.

Singh, aged in her mid-20s and a correspondent for the daily Janakapur Today and Radio Today FM, died on the way to hospital, FNJ President Dharmendra Jha said in a statement.

On the same evening, Kantipur Daily correspondent Manika Jha received death threats when a group of unknown people broke the windows of her home in the same suburb of Janakpur.

The group reportedly marked her door with a cross and threatened her, saying “now it is your turn”.

Jha is currently leading an FNJ delegation to Dhanusha to establish the facts of Singh’s murder. Some local media have reported her death may be linked to her reporting on the dowry system.

The FNJ has organised an emergency protest march from Ratnapark to Virkutimandap today. A nationwide protest program is planned for all district FNJ chapters.

“The brutal murder of Uma Singh and the attack against Manika Jha are chilling reminders of the extreme dangers and difficulties confronting a free and open media in Nepal,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“Local authorities in Janakpur and the Government must launch an immediate and full investigation into Singh’s murder and the threats against Jha, and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.”

The IFJ extends its sincere sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Singh.

Aside from an immediate investigation into Singh’s murder, the IFJ and the FNJ call on Nepal’s Government to ensure the safety of Jha and her family.


OHCHR-Nepal condemns killing of woman journalist Uma Singh

January 12, 2009- OHCHR-Nepal deplores the murder on 11 January of Janakpur-based journalist Uma Singh, who died after she was attacked at her home by men armed with khukhuris. No one has yet claimed responsibility. The Office calls on Nepal Police to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into her death, to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.

Singh was a reporter at Radio Today FM and a member of the Women’s Human Rights Defenders Network, Dhanusha.

OHCHR-Nepal also urges Government authorities to swiftly investigate and prosecute death threats and an apparent attempt to attack another woman journalist in Janakpur the same night. Doing so will send a strong message that there will be no impunity for attacks against the media, nor for any serious crimes. OHCHR-Nepal calls on all sectors of Nepali society to respect freedom of opinion and the rights of journalists.

“Occurring amid a growing number of reports of incidents targeting journalists throughout Nepal, this tragedy should galvanise those responsible for protection of media freedom to take the necessary action to ensure the security of journalists,” said OHCHR-Nepal Representative Richard Bennett.


NHRC Deplores the Killing of Journalist Uma Singh

Jan 12, 2009- National Human Rights Commission, Nepal (NHRCN) is shocked the killing of journalist Uma Sing on January 11 in an attack with sharp weapon it her closet by unidentified armed groups. National Human Rights Commission deplores this sort of brutal and fear-provoking activity. NHRC contact office based in Janakpur has initiated the investigation already; and, a high level mission will be deployed tomorrow to explore the fact of the incident.

Despite the recurring attention made by NHRC to the concerned authority and security officials including the Home Minister for the impotency in peace and security, the activities of serial violence are continue. This incident of killing has further proved the fragile security situation of Janakpur and surrounding. NHRC has noticed another attempt to attack with life threat to Monika Jha, another woman journalist affiliated to Kantipur national daily. NHRC Nepal opines that such incidents over journalists have undervalued the right to freedom of expression of every citizen.

NHRC urges Nepal Government to identify the culprits of the incident and prosecute as per the law as soon as possible, and to guarantee the security of all sorts of HR defenders including journalists. Furthermore, NHRC urges the Government to create a conducive and peaceful environment to work independently.


Journalist and women’s rights activist brutally murdered

12 January 2009- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) voiced shock and horror at the brutal murder yesterday of journalist and human rights activist Uma Singh, 26, who worked for the Janakpur Today Daily and Radio Today FM.

She was attacked after she returned from work by a gang of around 15 men who burst into the room she rented in Janakpur, some 240 kms south-east of the capital, who battered her repeatedly with blunt objects, in front of other tenants. She died of her injuries shortly before midnight while being driven to the capital.

“Our first thoughts are with her family and friends. We ask the authorities to react quickly and to do their utmost to protect journalists in Nepal and to quickly arrest this group of killers. This kind of appalling murder must not go unpunished if the Nepalese press is to go about its work freely”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

The Federation of Nepalese journalists also condemned the attack and is sending a team to the spot to investigate the killing. Dharmendra Jha, the president of the organisation who was Uma Singh’s professor, said he was very shocked by what had happened. “She was my pupil and I encouraged her to go in for committed journalism” he told satellite television CNN.

Police have so far not identified any motive for the killing. Some of Uma Singh’s articles made waves in the region, particularly those in which she criticised the dowry system, which is a very widespread tradition in Nepal - obliging the family of a bride to pay a significant sum of money and to give land to the husband before the marriage.

Human Rights Watch said that some of the attackers could be linked to the Communist Party of Nepal, the largest party in the ruling coalition, headed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal or "Prachanda", who led a Maoist rebellion for a decade before becoming prime minister.

The murder of Uma Singh is the latest in a long list of arrests and murders of journalists in Nepal in recent months. Three journalists were killed last year and one was kidnapped. Nepalese journalists plan to hold a demonstration on 15 January to urge the government to provide them with protection.


Uma Singh on YouTube:

The slain journalist introduces herself and talks on the threats to journalists in the volatile Terai, especially to women journalists.

Government must act to protect female journalists: CPJ

New York, January 12, 2009--The Nepalese government must act immediately to protect female journalists in the wake of the brutal murder of one reporter and death threats made against another in the volatile Terai plains of southern Nepal, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

About 15 unidentified people attacked Uma Singh, a 24-year-old print and radio reporter, in her home in the southeastern district of Dhanusa on Sunday night, according to local and international news reports. Singh died of multiple stab wounds to the head and upper body while being transferred from a local hospital to a larger one later that evening.

Brij Kumar Yadav, Singh's editor at the Nepali-language daily Janakpur Today, told Agence France-Presse that her recent coverage of women's rights and local political issues could have been the cause of the attack.

The Kantipur news group also reported that its Dhanusa-based reporter Manika Jha was threatened in her home on Sunday by a group of three or four people who broke her windows and told her that she would be the next person to be attacked. Police provided a guard at her residence, according to the group's Web site, eKantipur.

Women journalists in Dhanusa demanded official protection in October 2008, claiming dozens had been forced to quit after threats from armed groups, eKantipur reported.

Sunday's attacks come just weeks after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal publicly reaffirmed the government's commitment to protecting the press following an escalation of violent attacks on the media. News outlets raised an outcry after assailants struck the offices of the Himalmedia publishing company in December, with many newspapers leaving pages blank in protest.

"The violent death of our colleague Uma Singh is a tragedy and her attackers must be prosecuted," said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator. "This killing should act as a wake-up call to the Maoist-led government. For too long Nepal has failed to respond to female journalists in the Terai region and their calls for much-needed protection."

Singh also worked for the local FM station Radio Today, according to news reports. She opposed threats to women's rights--including the local tradition of costly dowries paid by the bride's family before marriage--and criticized political leaders involved in local unrest stemming from ethnic separatist movements, the reports said.

The local news Web site Republica reported on Monday that police had arrested four people in connection with Singh's murder. It quoted state-owned Nepal TV saying that a local political group had claimed responsibility for the slaying, saying it was committed "mistakenly." Other news outlets said the motive was still unknown.

Militant groups operating in the plains and low hills of the Terai advocate autonomy, and the region has seen outbreaks of violence since 2006, according to published analyses. Despite opening negotiations with some groups, the recently elected government, dominated by the Communist Party of Nepal, has failed to stem the aggression.

The Janakpur offices of the Terai Times were also attacked and staff assaulted on October 20 after the paper published articles alleging the Maoist's youth branch, the Young Communist League, was involved in local criminal activities, according to local and international news reports.

"It is a big problem working in the Terai region," Singh told the U.N. Mission in Nepal during an interview last year, which is available on YouTube. "Society doesn't accept [women] with equal perspectives. They say the work we have been doing is not good." She also described pressures from local organizations and armed groups. "If we don't air the news of their choice, they threaten us with killing," she said. But, she said, she and her colleagues did not bow to their orders. "We also have to balance our news."


Related links:
* Janakpur Today newspaper
* Journalists killed in 2009, CPJ
* International Federation of Journalists
* Reporters without Borders
* Committe to Protect Journalists
* Federation of Nepalese Journalists


waht the f#%!k is this goin on in terai!!! All the buch of ma'f#%!&ers terrorists and bullshits leaders should be hanged

Nepal's condition is really pathetic condition. Honest people cannot live live in Nepal. There is no Justice, no Human Rights, no safty to people. You don't konw when you will get killed.

You see the govt is asleep and busy making money. Govt is not at all bothered, Otherwise the family members of the suffering victims would have got justice. People of Nepal have to wake up. Otherwise there will be many more such incidents.

Today i am sorry to say that i really am ashamed of few Nepalese people and their heinous Crime , as a npalese citizen, i demand that the government of Nepal Must Investigate Youth Journalist Uma singh Murder case and prosecute those involved in this disturbing muder of a raising female journalist. Nepalese Government must do it not only to wake the dead asleep nepalese law agencies but also to gain the faith and trust of ordinary Nepalese citizens.

I believe Uma singh's family and the rest of the nepalese would like to see justice been done by the government rather then hearing victims family recieved Rs 10 Million [ $ 20,000 AUD ] .

Is that how much a life of a journalist costs in Nepal?
Is there any chance that justic will be made where the governments hands are still wet because of the blood of villegers they [Maoist]]killed during 15 years war?

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