The International Federation of Journalists urges the government of Nepal to increase protection for media workers following recent attacks on journalists and their property.
“Journalists face challenges from various fronts in Nepal. A concerted effort is needed to encourage freedom of expression in the country so that members of the press can report without fear of violence,” IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
According to an IFJ affiliate, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), Gyanendra Khadka was attacked by a group of about six armed police on the evening of July 10 in Bhojpur, an eastern district of Nepal.
Khadka, who is a reporter for the Nepal Samacharpatra Daily and vice president of the FNJ’s Bhojpur chapter, was attacked after attending a farewell gathering for Inspector Yogya Bikram Basnet inside the Armed Police Force base camp in Bhojpur.
While attempting to exit the camp, Khadka was assaulted by police personnel at the main gate, beaten and kicked on the head and allegedly told “you will now get to taste the power of police.”
According to the FNJ, the reporter sustained head, face and back injuries and two broken teeth. The motivation behind the attack is unclear, but president of the FNJ Bojpur chapter, Sahimaan Rai believes former grudges may be involved.
Media van attacked
A Kantipur publications van was stopped and set alight on the Banke River in an area bordering the eastern Nepalese districts of Sarlahi and Mahottari, at around 2pm on July 11.
According to Krishna Kumar Ishmaili, president of the FNJ’s Sarlahi chapter, a group calling itself Gorkha Line Mukti Sewa Samaj have taken responsibility for the attack against the van on its return to Biratnagar after distributing newspapers.
The front of the vehicle and its engine were badly damaged during the attack, the FNJ reports.
The IFJ, the organisation representing over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries have condemned these attacks and is demanding the Nepalese government to prevent further violence against the media.
“Immediate attention should be given to the Nepalese media, who are constantly being threatened from both authoritative and vigilante groups on a daily basis,” Park said.
“A truly democratic Nepal cannot be achieved until the government puts an end to this type of violence.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries