The International Federation of Journalists strongly urges local and national authorities in Nepal to enforce heightened security measures and protection for journalists in all regions of Nepal and ensure that the perpetrators of the recent spate of violent attacks are brought to justice.
According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, media monitors in the mid-western and western regions of Nepal received reports of three new incidents of violence against journalists overnight.
On July 29, local correspondent of Radio Nepal K.B. Bana and ABC Television correspondent Deepak Bhattarai were allegedly beaten by police officials while covering a clash between police and locals at Dumkibas in the Nawalparasi district.
The journalists were allegedly ambushed on their way back to a hotel, with police using gun butts, lathis (sticks) and their boots as weapons. Rana sustained a severe injury to his head and remains in a critical condition in hospital.
News correspondent of the Butwal Today daily and Nepal FM Govinda Luitel allegedly received telephone death threats from an official of the Devinagar Village Development Committee (VDC) in the western district of Palpa on July 28. The threat was reportedly related to an article Luitel published revealing unfavourable information about the VDC.
In the mid-western district of Bardiya, Kantipur national daily correspondent and central council member of the FNJ Bardiya chapter Kamal Bahadur Panthi, was also allegedly threatened by an official from the District Administrative Office for his investigative report on allegations of corruption.
“Free and fair reporting in all regions of Nepal and an independent media are crucial to stabilising the country,” said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“Journalists must have a safe right of passage to report on all incidents of public interest, including political events, conflict and corruption, and police must ensure adequate security is provided.”
“Reports of police instigating violence against journalists are particularly worrying and undermine democratic freedoms in Nepal.”
The IFJ joins the FNJ in condemning all threats and attacks on journalists for their work and demanding the Nepal authorities immediately provide improved protection and security for journalists during the current public unrest.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide