The International Federation of Journalists today joined members of the Nepalese media and the international community in their united stand today, condemning King Gyanendra's oppression of the media and press freedom after more than six months of fear and violence.
In Nepal, street rallies and protests gained momentum, with hundreds of Nepali media workers and trade union professionals peacefully calling for press freedom and freedom of speech. They called for a return to the once healthy and vibrant media landscape that was fostered in Nepal for several years prior to the royal coup on February 1 this year.
Journalists in Nepal delivered protest letters to King Gyanendra as well as voicing the urgent need for the government to take decisive steps to ensure journalists are protected and their rights are upheld.
The wide support for press freedom in Nepal was echoed by other journalists and rights organisations across the globe that participated in the Day of Action.
Organisations from countries including India, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Germany and Norway, sent letters of protest to King Gyanendra, held public rallies, published articles and supported the petition for press freedom in Nepal.
"Press freedom and the protection of journalists rights are a vital for strong and open democracy, and the international community has shown it will not ignore or forget about the continual deprivation of journalists rights in Nepal," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
"Since the royal coup, journalists in Nepal have faced appalling violence and persecution on a daily basis despite continual protests from Nepalese media and the international community," said the IFJ President.
"The strong voice of solidarity shown today by journalists and rights organisations around the world makes it clear that the King needs to take action and restore genuine press freedom," said Warren.
Repression of the media in Nepal has included strict censorship and forced shutdowns of newspapers and radio stations. Journalists have been threatened, attacked, detained and arrested, creating an environment of uncertainty and fear for media workers.
In just a few weeks, the signature campaign calling on King Gyanendra to reinstate press freedom in Nepal has collected signatures online and in-person from all over the world, along with messages of support for the Nepali media community.
The petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/622930457?ltl=1125288943 will be presented at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly in New York during September.
Click here to view the letter from IFJ to King Gyanendra.
For further information about the Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal, visit http://www.ifj-asia.org/page/nepalcrisis.html
For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries