The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries, has today written to the King of Nepal, demanding that he reinstate civil rights.
The letter, which has been translated into Nepali and distributed widely in Nepal by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), highlights international concern for the safety of journalists and condemns the government's violations of civil liberties and human rights.
"The IFJ has now participated in two missions to Nepal, and on each occasion we have received, and welcomed, assurances from the Nepalese government that all the articles of its constitution guaranteeing basic rights are in force," said IFJ President Christopher Warren in his letter to King Gyanendra.
"However, the daily reports new media bans and attacks against journalists demonstrate that these assurances have meant nothing," said the IFJ President.
"We need to step-up international pressure on the Nepalese government, until it realises that it is utterly unacceptable that human rights and the right to free speech have been abandoned in Nepal," said Warren.
The letter to King Gyanendra is part of the ongoing campaign for press freedom and journalists' safety in Nepal. A Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal on August 30 involving IFJ affiliates has been planned to express international disapproval to the King. The IFJ urges other human rights and press freedom organisations to participate.
Meanwhile, on August 7, Maoist forces banned the sale, distribution, and reporting of Blast Times Daily, a popular daily newspaper in eastern Nepal. The rebel organisation claimed that the newspaper had been carrying out a campaign to malign to its name.
"This is nothing but a direct attack on the independent media," said FNJ secretary Balaram Baniya, condemning the Maoist action.
Widespread media bans and censorship have been enforced in Nepal since February 1, when King Gyanendra staged a Royal Coup and suspended all civil liberties in a move that he said was necessary to fight an anti-monarchist Maoist revolt.
To view IFJ's letter to King Gyanendra click here.
The IFJ participated in the International Advocacy Mission for Press Freedom in Nepal from July 10 to 16. Click here to read the full mission statement
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries