The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed by a
recent wave of attacks on the media in Nepal and calls for a strong public
affirmation of the principle of media freedom by the country’s ruling
The Federation of Nepali Journalists
(FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, has recorded three incidents of concern, all in the
country’s southern plains, or the Terai, adjoining the border with India.
In the first case, Gyanendra Raj
Mishra, correspondent of Gadhimai FM radio and a member of the FNJ’s branch in
the Parsa district, was injured when he was fired upon by a group of about four
unidentified people about noon on February 19. The incident occurred near Narayani
Stadium in the district town of Birgunj.
The attack on Mishra comes just over
a month after the murder of journalist Uma Singh in Janakpur town in the Terai
district of Dhanusha.
“The IFJ condemns the attack on Gyanendra
Raj Mishra and joins the FNJ in calling for appropriate action to provide him
with medical care and to bring those guilty to account,” IFJ
Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
On February 21, cadre of the Madhesi
Janadhikar Forum (MJF), or the Madheshi People's Rights Forum, seized and set
ablaze copies of the daily Bypass, published from Birgunj. Two youth
leaders of the MJF, which is a partner in the ruling coalition in Nepal, were
identified to be behind the incident, ostensibly to protest against “false”
reporting about the party in the newspaper.
In a separate incident the same day,
a group claiming to speak on behalf of the victims of last year’s devastating
floods of the Kosi
River commandeered a
vehicle belonging to the Kantipur group of publications in the Haripur area of
The group seized copies of the two
newspapers published by the group from the national capital of Kathmandu and
the Terai town of Biratnagar,
and distributed them among the residents of a resettlement camp for flood
The motive for the protest was
Kantipur’s alleged neglect of the plight of the flood victims.
“The IFJ is alarmed at the belief,
which seems to be growing, that the use of force is a legitimate means of
redressing grievances about media content,” Park said.
“We call upon the ruling authorities
and civil society in Nepal
to strongly affirm respect for the principle that all disputes on media coverage
and content can be resolved through a process of dialogue or constructive
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
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