Attacks and Threats Against Journalists in Nepal

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns two incidents in Nepal in which

journalists have been attacked and threatened, and calls on the authorities to

ensure that the difficult political environment does not impinge adversely on

the practice of free and fair journalism.

 

According to the Federation of

Nepali Journalists (FNJ), Kishor Budhathoki, a reporter for The Himalayan

Times and its sister publication the Annapurna Post, was attacked by

a group of up to 10 assailants in Sankhuwasabha district, in eastern Nepal, about

9pm on August 11.

 

Budhathoki is reported to be in a critical

condition and has been referred from the district hospital to Biratnagar, the principal

town in the eastern region.

 

FNJ sources believe that they have

the identity of the person who led the assailants in dragging Budhathoki out of

his home at night and attacking him. The local police superintendent said security

had been tightened in and around the district town and that the attackers would

be arrested at the first opportunity.

 

The IFJ also extends its support to Nepal’s

journalists who met with Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal on August 14 to urge

immediate action against political elements who have been threatening journalists.

 

This followed threats handed out by

Mahesh Basnet, head of the youth affiliate of the Communist Party of Nepal

(United Marxist-Leninist), or UML, which currently heads the governing

coalition at the national level.

 

Basnet’s Youth Association Nepal

(YAN) is believed to have been behind a near lethal attack on journalist Khila

Nath Dhakal on June 5 in Biratnagar district. Since then he has spoken out

publicly in support of the suspected assailant and also threatened Narayan Wagle,

one of Nepal’s

most senior editors, with arrest and

the closure of his newspapers.

 

“We have earlier had occasion to

caution the Nepali authorities about the tensions of the political transition

spilling over into media practice, causing severe hazards and impediments to

journalists engaged in the pursuit of their work,” IFJ

Asia-Pacific said.

 

“We underline these concerns once

again in the context of the recent incidents and call for greater seriousness

of purpose in ending the climate of impunity for attacks on the media in Nepal.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +91-9810518009

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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