Media Rights Violations Spike in Nepal

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

is alarmed at a recent spike in media rights violations against journalists and

media houses across Nepal.

 

According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists

(FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, four incidents of violence against media personnel in

different locations have raised concerns about the public’s understanding of

the beneficial role of journalists and the independent media in Nepal’s

democratic transition.

 

On November 18, the Sunsari regional bureau of

Avenues Television was attacked by a group reportedly led by the legal adviser

of the Khumbuwan Rastriya Morche (KRM) district committee in Itahari, in Nepal’s

east. The attackers threatened bureau chief Sachin Pokharel and correspondent

Somnath Bastola and physically abused office assistant Deepak Karki. They vowed

to bomb the premises.

 

The FNJ said it was believed the attack may have

been motivated by information obtained by Avenues Television in relation to a

land dispute involving KRM.

 

On November 17, in the Nuwakot district of central Nepal, Nuwakot Jagatan weekly editor and

publisher Shiva Devkota received serious injuries to his right hand in a

targeted attack while he was participating in a public awareness campaign

organised by the Nepali Congress.

 

On November 16, the offices of The Himal Khabar Patrika magazine in Kathmandu

were destroyed by fire. In addition, thousands of magazines were destroyed by a

group of people reportedly from a customer solutions company. The assailants

also allegedly stole three mobile phones from The Himal staff.

 

On November 13, the eastern regional office of the

National News Agency (RSS) in Biratnagar was vandalised by an unknown group.

 

“Regular attacks against journalists and media in Nepal by members

of the public highlight a worrying and widespread misunderstanding among

ordinary people about the role of journalists as watchdogs and defenders of the

public interest,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

 

“Nepal’s

Government must take a lead immediately to condemn attacks on journalists and

media houses and to alert the wider public to its recognition of and support

for the valuable and independent role of the media in a democratic society.”

 

The IFJ joins the FNJ in condemning all attacks on

media personnel in Nepal

and calling on authorities to ensure improved security for journalists and to investigate

thoroughly all such incidents.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide