The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on all parties that form Nepal’s new government to commit openly to uphold freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
The IFJ is concerned to ensure press freedom is recognised and acted upon within the new government following reports that some political parties and their supporters sought to intimidate journalists at polling booths during the campaign for the national election, held on April 10.
According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, 61 incidents of media rights violations were recorded across 70 regions during the campaign period including 20 cases of physical harm against journalists, 12 cases of threats and intimidation, 21 cases of freedom of information violations, and eight attacks on media houses and vehicles.
An English translation of a news report for the Kantipur daily this week described several incidents where journalists were threatened with physical violence, intimidated and attacked by Maoist cadres.
Nepal is still awaiting the final results of the election. However, the IFJ reminds the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which is currently leading the poll count, of the commitments its leadership has made directly to the IFJ on several occasions to support freedom of the media and freedom of expression.
The IFJ calls on CPN(M) and all potential governing parties to demonstrate respect for the responsibilities of journalists to report independently, including with regard to all aspects of the election outcome.
“The professional standards of journalists in Nepal during the country’s election and post-election period is testament to the necessity for a free flow of accurate and objective information for a peaceful election process,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
“However, it is clear from the number of attacks against journalists reported through the FNJ’s media monitoring network that Nepal still has a long way to go to uphold press freedom and protect journalists as its guardians.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries