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Nepal: UNESCO Chief Condemns Murder Of Journalist

Nepal: UNESCO Chief Condemns Murder Of Journalist As Attack On All Society

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO) today condemned the murder of a Nepalese journalist by Maoist rebels as an affront to democracy and an attack on the whole of society.

Maoist rebels abducted Dakendra Raj Thapa, a reporter for state-owned Radio Nepal, on June 26 and killed him earlier this month, accusing him of spying. Mr Thapa was also an advisor to the Dailekh district committee of the Human Rights and Peace Society's (HURPES), a Kathmandu-based human rights organization.

“I am gravely concerned by the conditions faced by journalists in Nepal and call on all the parties concerned to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines press freedom and freedom of expression as a fundamental human right,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said.

“There can be no justification for the use of violence to muzzle journalists and prevent them from carrying out their professional duty,” he added. “A free press is essential for democracy which is why attacking journalists is tantamount to attacking all members of a society.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a United States-based non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting press freedom, has counted 14 other reports of beating, harassment, imprisonment and abduction of journalists in Nepal this year alone.

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