The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) notes with alarm that
police in Nepal brutally assaulted Bimal Bista, a correspondent for Nepal Samachar Patra, before taking him
into custody in the district headquarters town of Doti in the country’s far
west on August 23.
According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ
affiliate, Bista was on a reporting assignment, seeking information on some
local disputes, when he was hustled into a police van and badly beaten up. He is
reportedly still in custody.
“The IFJ endorses the FNJ’s demand that Bista be released immediately,”
IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “This brutality against a
journalist who was just doing his job should be properly investigated and
action taken against the police responsible.”
The IFJ remains concerned that the
political transition in Nepal
has involved multiple hazards for the media, with state and non-state actors
continuing to enjoy impunity for their attacks on individual journalists and
“We are also worried about the
serious instance that has been brought to our notice of copies of Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post, Nepal’s
largest circulation newspapers in the Nepali and English languages, being burnt
in public by activists of a political party in the terai region,” Park said.
According to the FNJ, the head of
the political party in the region issued a statement claiming credit for the
arson attack, justifying it on the grounds that the newspaper group had
disregarded his party’s campaign to banish Nepali language media from the terai.
The IFJ is appalled by this attempt
to impose linguistic exclusion and insists that all people anywhere in Nepal
should have the opportunity to access media of their choice, in a language that
they can best comprehend and bond with.
“The IFJ appeals to all political
groups in Nepal to
acknowledge the right of the people to choose and to carry out their activism
on the terrain where it is appropriate, which would be the ongoing effort to
write a republican constitution for the people of Nepal,” Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries