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
“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.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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