The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) holds concerns for the
status of press freedom of Nepal
as the escalating trend of attacks and threats against journalists enters its
second month with five separate anti-media incidents reported overnight.
According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ
affiliate, Sushil Dhunganga, news correspondent for Samachar Saransha received death threats over the telephone for an
article “Increasing smuggling at Vajani Border, Concerned Authority Silent”
published in the daily on August 1.
Dhunganga is based in Dhangadi, Kalilai, in Nepal’s far-west.
Samjhana Paudel, news correspondent from Nepal FM was harassed and
arrested by police while reporting on a protest program organized by womens’
rights activists on August 3 at Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu.
The police reportedly asked her upon her arrest, “You are the one that
writes about women?”, the FNJ reports.
She was released at 10pm that evening.
Two members of the FNJ Dhanusha chapter in the central region, Ajyay Sah
and Ganesh Kharel reported threats of by a commander of the Terai Rastriya
Mukti Sena (TRMS) in Janakpur on August 5.
The commander threatened violence against the journalists when they
refused to obey a TRMS press release calling for the closure of all FM radio
and newpapers using Nepali language in the troubled Terai region.
In Sunsari, also in Nepal’s
eastern region, members of the Madheshi Students’ Front set alight copies of
the newspapers Kantipur, Samacharpatra, and Blast Times, apparently blaming journalists for not covering their
conflict with students from the Dharan
“The role of the media in any democracy is to report accurately and fairly
on all issues and events in the public interest including all aspects of
political conflict, particularly in Nepal’s current period of fragile
transition,” said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“It is alarming to see individuals including representatives of political
parties and local authorities interrogating and attacking journalists for fulfilling
their responsibilities to the Nepal
The IFJ joins the FNJ in expressing disappointment and concern at the Nepal
government’s continued neglect for adequate safety and protection for journalists
despite its April election promises.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide