IFJ Condemns Nepalese Government Over Harassment of Journalists After Publication of Controversial Cartoon

©IFJ - Sunday cartoon published 22 August 2005 by Kantipur Dainik and its English language counterpart, The Kathmandu Post.The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries, has condemned the harassment of two Nepalese journalists by Government officials for the publication of a cartoon.

On August 22, the Office of the Chief District Officer (CDO) summoned two editors of major national broadsheets in Kathmandu for interrogation over a Sunday cartoon published by the Kantipur Dainik and its English language counterpart, The Kathmandu Post.

Editors Narayan Wagle and Prateek Pradhan, were interrogated by two officers from the Ministry of Information and Communications, apparently hired by the CDO, about the cartoon, which fronted the pages of their respective dailies.

After Wagle and Pradhan questioned the propriety of the officers actions, the Minister for Information and Communication, Tanka Dhakal, fired back with a disturbing threat during a press conference.

Minister Dhakal warned that the government is "dead serious" about the cartoon debacle, and highlighted his intention to investigate the matter with an eye for the harshest possible action "within the legal periphery".

"The mounting aggression towards journalists in Nepal by Government officials represents just a fraction of the difficulties journalists are facing every day as they work to ensure press freedom and independence," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"The Government's intolerance of satirical comment in cartoons is just part of the continuing harassment of the Nepali media since the royal coup more than six months ago," said the IFJ President.

"The ongoing violation of civil liberties in Nepal is unacceptable and must be stopped. The Nepalese media community are risking their safety each day to protest and resist this repression," said Warren.

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 that closes on August 31 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