IFJ Condemns Systematic Censorship of the Media Following Harassment of Three Nepalese Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the organisation representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries, has condemned the Nepalese government's harassment of two senior journalists from the Parsa district.

According to information received by the IFJ, on August 8, the Parsa Chief District Officer summoned editor and publisher Krishnakumar Khanal and managing director Bijay Kuswah to the DAO office in relation to a story they ran in the Birgunj Report Daily on August 5.

The two journalists were harassed in a locked in a room for three hours, and then forced to sign a statement declaring that they would never again publish any articles critical of the monarchy.

Khanal and Kuswah say they were threatened with imprisonment if they did not sign the statement.

In another incident in the Saptari district, the vice-chairman of the district's development committee threatened Kantipur journalist Dilliram Khatiwada in relation to a story he wrote on corruption.

"Government attempts to gag journalists who are reporting independently is a blatant violation of the Nepali press' rights," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"This kind of harassment of journalists is happening almost daily, and we demand that the King call his officers into line, in accordance with the democratic principles he has publicly advocated," said the IFJ President.

This latest intimidation of journalists follows a similar incident in the Dailekh district on July 31, when Royal Nepalese Army officials threatened three local journalists who had reported that the army was using minors as informants. The journalists were urged to retract their stories and were forced to provide thumbprints.

The IFJ addressed the government's ongoing attacks on journalists in a letter delivered to King Gyanendra on August 8. The letter received widespread coverage in Nepali language press.

To view IFJ's letter to King Gyanendra click here.

The IFJ participated in the International Advocacy Mission for Press Freedom in Nepal from July 10 to 16. Click here to read the full mission statement.

For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 (0) 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries