International Press Freedom Mission to Visit Nepal March 19- 26 2006

In response to continued violations of press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal, twelve international organisations, including UN agency, global media associations, freedom of expression advocates and media development organisations, are undertaking a joint mission to Nepal from 20 to 25 March 2006.

After a first mission in July 2005, when a large group of press freedom and freedom of expression organisations came together to undertake a joint mission in support of the national media community, the March 2006 mission is a direct continuation of this process and the inclusion of more organisations demonstrates the ever growing concern of the international community about the situation in the country.

The members of the mission will meet with a broad cross-section of the national media community to discuss the press freedom and freedom of expression situation. They will also meet with key institutions and decision-maker amongst the national authorities, security forces and other parties to stress respect for press freedom and freedom of expression.

In addition, the mission will visit three districts in Nepal - Pokhara, Surkhet and Birtamod - and will meet with local civil and army authorities and representatives from the local media in these areas. The members of the mission will also participate in a national conference on press freedom in Nepal to be held in Kathmandu on 24 March.

The international organizations participating on the mission include:

· Free Voice
· International Federation of Journalists
· International Freedom of Expression Exchange - IFEX
· International Media Support
· International News Safety Institute
· International Press Institute
· Reporters sans Frontières
· South Asia Press Commission
· United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO
· World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC
· World Press Freedom Committee

Three other international organisations, which participated in the July 2005 mission, are supporting the return mission in March 2006. These organisations include:

· Committee to Protect Journalists
· Press Institute of India
· World Association of Newspapers

The mission is organised in Nepal by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists in collaboration with a group of twenty-eight Nepalese organisations, institutes and networks. International coordination for the mission is being provided by International Media Support.

For further information, please contact:

Thomas Hughes - IMS Deputy Director
Phone: +45 32 69 89 89
E-mail: [email protected]
Faruq Faisel - IMS Mission Coordinator
Phone: + 977 1 4490063
E-mail: [email protected]