IFJ Protests Against Violence and Intimidation of Journalists in Nepal

The International Federation of Journalists has sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Nepal, voicing its concern over increasing violence and intimidation of journalists and calling for the brutal murder of journalist Gyanendra Khadka in Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal.


The IFJ have protested to the Government of Nepal in the following letter:


12 September 2003


Right Hon. Surya Bahadur Thapa

Prime Minister

Prime Minister’s Office

Singh Dubar

Kathmandu

Kingdom of Nepal


VIA FACSIMILE: 0015 977 1227 286


CC. Kamal Thapa.

Minister for Information and Communication


Your Excellency,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is a global organisation of journalists, representing over 500 000 journalists worldwide. The IFJ wishes to express its deep concern over the latest increase of violence against journalists in Nepal.


Several recent events of particular concern include:


  • The murder of Gyanendra Khadka, a reporter with the state-run National News Agency (RSS) on 7 September 2003. Khadka’s throat was cut by rebels from the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-Maoist) in Sindhupalchowk district.


  • The violent police intervention into a peaceful rally of journalists on Exhibition Road in Kathmandu on 11 September 2003. Two journalists were injured by police batons in the attack, 30 were arrested and the rally dispersed. The group was protesting the brutal killing of Gyanendra Khadka.


  • The physical attack on Rajendra Chitrakar on 8 September 2003. Chitrakar, a photojournalist for the state-owned daily "Gorkhapatra", was assaulted by security forces while he was taking pictures in Baluwatar, Kathmandu.


  • The assaults of journalist Prajash Silwal and photojournalist Rojan Rai, from the daily "Himalayan Times", by security forces in Bijuli Bazar, Kathmandu on 8 September 2003. Security forced seized the journalists as they went home from work, threatening them with further violence if their reports continued.


  • The arrest of Shubha Shankar Kandel, executive editor of the weekly "Janadharana" and sub-editor of Image Metro Television, at his home in Banasthali, Kathmandu, on 9 September. Kandel was taken into custody and interrogated about books in his personal library.


  • The issuing of a “prohibition order” on 2 September 2003, forbidding all gatherings of five or more people in public places except for religious or customary purposes. The order removes the right of people to protest peacefully and is a serious indictment on Nepal’s claims to democracy and the promotion of human rights.


    These events are in direct conflict with international codes protecting the rights of journalists and also contravene Articles 12, 13 and 16 of the Kingdom of Nepal’s own constitution.


    The IFJ condemns the use of legal provisions such as the Public Security Act or the State Offence against Crime and Punishment Act, as excuses for what are clear violations of national and international conventions on freedom of expression, freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly.


    The IFJ calls on the Nepalese Government to respect the principles of freedom of expression and the right of freedom of movement for journalists, and cease activities that infringe on these rights. Peace, justice and the proper functioning of a democracy can only occur when the press is able to report news, free from obstruction and violent intervention.




    Yours sincerely,



    Christopher Warren

    President, IFJ


    Recommended action:


    Send appeals:

  • Condemning the increasing violence against journalists

  • Condemning the arrests of journalists and continued intimidation of journalists

  • Urging an investigation into the death of Gyanendra Khadka

  • Urging the Government to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Nepal.


    Appeals:


    Right Hon. Surya Bahadur Thapa

    Prime Minister

    Prime Minister’s Office

    Singh Dubar

    Kathmandu

    Kingdom of Nepal

    VIA FACSIMILE: 0015 977 1227 286



    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj-asia@alliance.org.au