Constant Threats and Attacks Force Nepalese Journalists to Quit

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticised the Nepalese government for not doing enough to protect journalists, after a fortnight of threats and attacks on journalists.

“We urge the Nepalese government to take a firm stance against the shocking treatment of journalists,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

Journalists attacked
Attacks have been made upon numerous print and broadcasting media organisations over the past week.

According to an IFJ affiliate, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), FNJ representatives of the Chure Sandesh weekly and Kayakairan national daily were attacked by police personnel on June 16, at Bypass Road, Chitwan, a central district of Nepal.

FNJ sources report that police beat up the journalist duo, Suresh Chandra Adhikary and Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, who were working in the area.

During the attack, Thapaliya reportedly sustained leg injures and had to receive five stitches, while Adhikary received wounds to his back.

One day later, on June 17, Yadhav Poudel of the Morning Times and Mechi Tunes FM, and Narayan Khadka, correspondent of the Nepal Samacharpatra daily, sustained injuries to their eyes and backs when they were attacked by unidentified demonstrators at Birtamod of Jhapa, an eastern district.

Also in Jhapa, a group of armed pro-Monarch demonstrators reportedly interrupted the transmission of Kanchanjunga FM for a few hours on July 17, when they descended on the station, threatening staff allegedly in response to the station declaring itself a democratic republic station.

Death threats to journalists
According to the FNJ, a local leader of the Nepali Congress, the party of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, in the Gorkha district in western Nepal, has apparently threatened the lives of journalists in response to reports on timber smuggling.

Journalist’s land confiscated
Land belonging to Madhav Acharya, former president of FNJ Dhanusha, has recently been confiscated by Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, JTMM- Goit faction, at Dhanusha, in the central district of Nepal, the FNJ reports.

According to the FNJ, about three hectors of land at ward no. 4 of Shantipur village of Dhanusha district were captured by the JTMM and Acharya has been denied access to his land and been stopped from cultivating it.

Condemning the incident, the FNJ has urged the concerned group to return the land immediately and has urged the government to create an environment for his safety and return of his land.

Newspapers burned
According to the FNJ, Morang Chapter cadres from Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) burned editions of the Nepal Samacharpatra Daily and pro Maoist newspaper Janabidrohi Daily, published from Biratnagar, on June 17 in the Eastern district of Sunsari.

The group reportedly stopped the Samacharpatra Daily and Janabidrohi Daily vehicles, and threatened the distributors with plans to burn the vehicles the next day, if they did not publish news of MJF activities.

The FNJ condemned the attack on the newspapers and voiced concern about the increasing numbers of threats on media by MJF.

They urged the MJF to respect press freedom and have also asked the government to provide safety and security to media persons.

The IFJ echoed calls from the FNJ demanding the Nepalese government provide journalists with adequate security.

“The increasing number of attacks and threats directed at journalists is deeply distressing,” the director of IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“We are very concerned about the safety of threatened journalists and the Nepalese government must take responsibility to ensure its journalists’ basic human rights are protected,” Park said.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries