Reporters Without Borders urges the Nepalese authorities not to rule out the possibility that yesterday’s murder of media owner Jamim Shah was linked to his media activities. The head of satellite TV station Channel Nepal and cable TV company Space Time Network, Shah was shot dead in the centre of Kathmandu yesterday.
“Although a controversial figure, Shah made a major contribution to media development in Nepal by enabling many Nepalese to gain access to TV stations all over the world,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“So far nothing points to Shah’s media activities as the motive, but he was a very influential person as a result of his pioneering role in broadcast and cable television in Nepal,” the press freedom organisation added. “Both the perpetrators and instigators of this deliberate murder must be identified, arrested and brought to trial.”
Reporters Without Borders welcomes the fact that the police have assigned considerable resources to the investigation. A police spokesman said dozens of officers were working on the case and all roads out of the capital were being checked. Eighteen arrests have been made.
Shah was gunned down on a major thoroughfare in the early afternoon by two men on a motorcycle with the licence number Ba15Pa8733. The killers got away without difficulty although the murder took place just yards from several embassies. Shah was fatally shot in the head and chest, while his driver, Mathuraman Malakar, was seriously injured.
A journalist who worked for Shah told Reporters Without Borders: “He was very humble and always tried to keep a low profile although his media company was very big.”
Shah used to run two newspapers, Space Time Dainik and Space Time Today, but closed them for financial reasons.
The Federation of Nepalese Journalists has called on the authorities to arrest those responsible for Shah’s murder, while Television Broadcasters Nepal, an association chaired by Shah, has threatened the government with a campaign if it does not do what is necessary to catch the killers.
Some Indian news media have mentioned previous allegations linking Shah to both the Pakistani intelligence services and to leading figures in the Indian underworld including Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most wanted man. Shah, who was off Kashmiri origin, always denied the allegations.