Statement of Solidarity for Critical Media Situation in Nepal

<center>Statement from Representatives of South Asia Journalist’s Organizations

and the IFJ on critical situation facing journalists in Nepal</center>


Representatives of journalists’ trade unions and organizations from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, meeting in Kathmandu under the umbrella of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), are extremely concerned about the critical situation facing journalists in Nepal and the curtailment of freedom of expression since the resumption of hostilities.


After the outbreak of political conflict, violence against journalists is on the rise across Nepal. Journalists working in hostile regions are the victims of constant threats and intimidation from all sides. Weekly we learn of the difficulties and dangers faced by journalists as more cases of harassment, threats, violence and even killings of journalists are reported.


According to information from local journalists groups, forty-two journalists have been detained since the peace talks broke in August, 2003. Three have been prosecuted and five tortured. Likewise from the Maoist’s side, one journalist was killed, two others kidnapped while death warrants have been issued against many others. The well being of five journalists is still unknown since their disappearances over the last 18 months.


Understandably in this climate, fear has spread throughout the journalist community.


Bearing this in mind we strongly condemn the ongoing excesses against journalists, call on both sides of the conflict to respect the work of journalists and the right of the Nepalese people to information and to freedom of expression.


At this time of conflict and stress, it is critical that our communities have access to the truth that enables them to understand and control their lives and participate in the democratic process.


Violent conflict and political upheaval, by their nature, raise tempers and build barriers to understanding. But the value of communication to conflict resolution is obvious and we call on all sides to respect the unique role journalists have to play.


For more information contact Jacqueline Park at the International Federation of Journalist (ifjasia@ifj-asia.org) or in Nepal contact the Federation of Nepalese Journalists(fnjnepal@mail.com.np , the Nepal Press Union (nepalpressunion@hotmail.comor the National Union of Journalists, Nepal(nujnep@ntc.net.np.


Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries