IFJ calls for greater protection for Nepalese journalists amid reports of intimidation and abductions

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries, has growing concerns over press freedom and human rights violations in Nepal.

The IFJ is concerned that the latest incidents have seen a number of journalists harassed and threatened by government forces and the suspected abduction of three other journalists.

"The importance of the upcoming Global Day of Action on August 30 has been highlighted by the latest attacks on journalists rights and safety in Nepal," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"It is unacceptable for this culture of threats and abuse to continue, the government must take steps to protect journalists from intimidation and violence," said the IFJ President.

On the night of August 26, a group of armed, masked men forced their way into Ram Raj Pokhrel's home in the Butwal Municipality.

The men searched the Pokhrel family home, rifling through personal material and damaging property. When Pokhrel questioned the identity of the men, the leader of the group threatened to shoot him. The leader later told Pokhrel that the group was part of security forces in action.

Butwal Area police station, deputy superintendent Maya Kumar Saha confirmed that his troops were involved in night patrolling and search operations. Furthermore, he confirmed that the troops were using a Marshal Jeep, as seen outside Ram Raj Pokhrel's residence on the night of the search.

Ram Raj Pokhrel is the district reporter for Channel Nepal TV Network and Space Time Today, the vice president of Press Union Rupandehi and executive member of NFJ Rupandehi.

According to IFJ sources, the attack comes was a warning against Ram Raj Pokhrel for his active role in press freedom protest rallies and on-going journalists' movement in Butwal-Rupandehi.

"Targeting individual journalists in a bid to intimidate and silence the independent media must stop," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

Meanwhile, arrest warrants have been issued for six journalists over a satirical cartoon depicting the monarchy as a dead animal published in the Kantipur Dainik and its English language counterpart, The Kathmandu Post.

Arrest warrants were issued for Kantipur Dainik's director Hemraj Gyawali, managing editor, Kailash Sirohiya, and editor, Narayan Wagle. Additional warrants were issued for Prateek Pradhan editor of the Kathmandu Post, Binod Raj Gyawali, owner and director of Kantipur Publications, and the cartoonist, Batsyayan.

The move comes just days after Gyawali, Wagle and Pradhan were interrogated by two officers from the Ministry of Information and Communications on August 22, and later threatened by the Minister at a press conference.

In yet another assault on press freedom, three Jhapa-based journalists have been reported missing.

Three Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) members, Tikaram Neti, from the Purbanchal daily, Subrat Neupane and Madan Kharel both from Bibechana daily have been missing since Thursday.

According to Mahendra Bista, general-secretary of the FNJ, the journalists have been out of contact with both their families and local media persons, and it is believed they may have been abducted.

The IFJ and its affiliates have stepped up their protest of press freedom abuses in Nepal, declaring a Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal on August 30.

Support the day of action by signing the Nepal Crisis Signature Campaign at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/622930457 or sending a letter protest letter to King Gyanendra.

For more information on the Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal, please visit:


For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries