Journalism is a deadly profession in Nepal. Perks of the job include receiving death threats, abduction, physical attacks and even death. Prices that many are paying in a country riddled with political instability and elusive peace.
On Thursday night, a gang of unidentified assailants shot dead Devi Prasad Dhital, chairman of Tulsipur FM, a local radio station in Dang district bordering Uttar Pradesh, while he was returning home.
Dhital is the third media mogul in Nepal who has fallen prey to bullets this year. In February, Jamim Shah, owner of Space Time Network, was gunned down in Kathmandu. A month later, Arun Singhania, owner of Today Group suffered a similar fate in Janakpur.
Last year, Uma Singh, a 26-year-old journalist working for Singhania's group, was stabbed to death by a group of 12-15 men at her home in Janakpur.
Records compiled by Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based non-profit organisation, say that 14 journalists have been killed in Nepal since 1992. Motives behind half of those deaths have not been confirmed.
A CPJ report shows while 14 per cent of the deaths were due to dangerous assignments, 86 percent were results of murderous attacks. Government inaction is biggest cause for journalists becoming targets.
Nepal ranks seventh in a list of 12 countries "where journalists are murdered on a recurring basis and governments are unable or unwilling to prosecute the killers".
"Nepal's historic political shift from monarchy to a coalition-ruled democratic republic…. brought no redress in media attacks," the report stated.
And it's not just murders alone. Death threats, murderous attacks and abductions of journalists make headlines with disturbing frequency. Attacks on media offices and vehicles carrying newspapers are also common.