One night in January 2009, a gang of men broke into the home of Manika Jha’s neighbour and fellow journalist Uma Singh, and knifed her to death. They scrawled a cross on Manika’s door, with the message that she would be next.
Manika writes on corruption, women’s rights and discrimination. In Nepal this is a dangerous profession if you are a man; as a young woman doubly so. Dhanusha district, where Manika is based, is one of the most volatile regions of Nepal. It is also very conservative, particularly when it comes to the role of women in society.
Just 19 when she started working as a journalist in this context, Manika now writes for a national daily newspaper. She is the only female reporter in the district.
She has received numerous verbal and written threats and has been attacked on at least three occasions, including an attempt on her life in May 2010.
Manika is unable to rely on many other people to help keep her safe because most of them disapprove of a woman doing the work she does, but she continues to write despite the danger.
She is passionate about human rights and the power of journalism to change society.
“I am a displaced journalist because I speak against violence, oppression and exploitation and also because I voice my opinion freely,” she says.