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Chairman of community radio broadcaster slain

A community radio owner was gunned down as he rode his motorcycle in a district west of Kathmandu on 22 July, report the Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES), Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ, Freedom Forum and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC). He is the third media owner to be killed in six months.

Devi Prasad Dhital (Hemraj) was travelling to Tulsipur from his home village of Urahari, in the mid-western district of Dang, when at least four assailants shot him several times. The 42-year-old chairman of Radio Tulsipur died later in the hospital.

CEHURDES is concerned about the deterioration of law and order in the eastern and western regions of the country, yet to have a new government, at a time when "the media community in Nepal is trying to fulfill its duty in a fragile post-conflict scenario." Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal resigned earlier this month and the country is without a new PM.

"Those who decided to silence the head of Tulsipur FM know that Nepal's community radio stations are influential and play a key role in disseminating news and information," said Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Dhital was also reportedly a successful businessman, and the motive behind his murder is unclear, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The FNJ sent a mission to carry out an investigation. "Media persons are increasingly under attack from criminal groups and any negligence in investigation will only encourage such elements," said AMARC.

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