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REMAINS OF MISSING JOURNALIST FOUND

The skeleton believed to be that of missing Nepali journalist Jagat Prasad Joshi was found in a wooded area near his home in the west of the country, report the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). The press freedom groups fear he may have been murdered.

Joshi, also known as Pandit, was last seen on 8 October during the Dashain festival at his home in Nepal's far-western district of Kailali. Human remains found in a nearby forest were identified by Joshi's family.

Joshi was the editor of the far-western editions of the Nepali language daily "Janadisha", one of the mouthpieces of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), says RSF. He was a member of FNJ and also president of the Kailali chapter of the Revolutionary Journalists' Organisation.

According to FNJ, Joshi's family identified two brothers as suspects. In a recent story, Joshi had said they were allegedly involved in illegally trading tiger skins. One brother is now in custody, while the other is reported to have fled when the remains were discovered.

RSF says that a relative of Joshi also suggested that a local Maoist leader, Hari "Utsav" Chaudhari, could have been involved. Joshi was physically attacked one night as he was returning home after writing an article criticising Chaudhari's calls for autonomy of part of the Terai region.

FNJ believes the increasing number of attacks on journalists is a result of the authorities' failure to "book the culprits." FNJ and other media organisations in Nepal organised demonstrations of journalists, media associations and political leaders in Kathmandu and Janakpur last week to demand a thorough investigation into Joshi's murder. The Kailali media have called a general strike.

Visit these links:
- IFJ: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98964/
- FNJ: http://www.fnjnepal.org/release_detail.php?id=91
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29513
- Video of Kathmandu demonstration on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/6c4lp3
(3 December 2008)

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