Govt's laxity on peace and security

KATHMANDU: Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) today said it was deeply saddened by the horrendous murder of media entrepreneur Arun Singhaniya and condemned the government for being apathetic to the professional security of journalists, media houses and media entrepreneurs.

A press statement issued by FNJ after its emergency meeting said, "As the Jamim Shah case is yet to settle down, the killing of Singhaniya has raised a serious question towards the government's ability to ensure peace and security of general public across the country."

FNJ has strongly urged the government to bring the culprits behind the threats, killing and intimidation of journalists and media entrepreneurs to justice.

The murder of Janakpur-based media entrepreneur Singhaniya (50)-chairman of Janakpur Today Publication Group and Radio Today (91 Mhz)-has sent a wave of panic among the journalists and media entrepreneurs across the country.

Singhaniya was brutally gunned down at Bhanu Chowk in Janakpur yesterday evening. FNJ held an emergency meeting today and sent a three-member delegation led by its president Dharmendra Jha on a fact-finding mission.

A delegation of FNJ also handed over a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs drawing the latter's attention towards 'fragile security situation in the country'. FNJ also announced that it would stage a nationwide protest on Wednesday demanding that the government guarantee their professional and physical security.

Various professional organisations and human rights groups expressed their shock and disbelief at the murder of Singhaniya. In a press statement issued in the capital, the Broadcasting Association of Nepal said the horrendous murder of Singhaniya in cold blood had sent a shockwave to the media entrepreneurs and working journalists. "The government has but paid lip-service in respect of the professional and physical security of working journalists and media entrepreneurs when they are in constant threat of armed groups and organised criminals. It is a pinnacle of shamelessness of the government," it said. BAN also called on Prime Minister to ensure that the culprits will not be let off the hook or sack the incompetent Minister for Home Affairs to pave the way for better peace and security.

Association of Community Radio Broadcaster's Nepal has also condemned the killing and called for urgent action against the culprits involved in shootout. Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy (PAPAD) argued that one after another attack on media entrepreneurs, rampant extortion, threat for life and the thriving culture of impunity had made a mockery of overall peace and security of the country.

"A series of attack on media entrepreneurs is a deliberate attack on peace and democracy," said a press statement. Human Development and Peace Campaign Nepal also expressed serious concern about the murder of Singhaniya.

Nationwide protest today

Rajbiraj: Mediapersons across the length and breadth of the country today demonstrated against the grisly murder of Janakpur-based media entrepreneur Arun Singhaniya.

Mediapersons in Saptari organised protest rallies in Rajbiraj and demanded that murderers of Singhaniya and Jamim Shah be brought to books.

Earlier, in a press meet organised by Federation of Nepali Journalists Saptari chapter, FNJ chairman Dharmendra Jha warned of raising the issue at the international level should the government fail to nab the murderers. "The government has utterly failed to punish the guilty even though mediapersons and journalists have been attacked repeatedly," said Jha. Stating that the entire media fraternity had been terrorised by series of attacks, Jha said that nationwide protest programme would be held from tomorrow. Likewise, rallies protesting the murder were also held in Lahan Municipality and Jaleswor in Mahottari too. Meanwhile, Press Union, Press Chautari, Revolutionary Journalist Union and various other organisations have expressed solidarity .