IFJ Disturbed By Continued Unrest in Nepal

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the government of Nepal to improve protection for journalists.

“Although the latest incidents are less violent than usual, it is still a daily fight for journalists in Nepal to maintain press freedom,” IFJ president Christopher Warren said.

Newspaper distribution stalled
Distributors of Nepal Samacharpatra Daily went on strike on May 26, padlocking the doors of the publication and distribution office.

According to local reports, the distributors wanted certain demands met by their publication group, the Maoist-aligned Labor Association of Publication and Communication Nepal.

Allegedly, the publication group is taking their demands seriously and has requested a meeting with the distributors, however, there is no news on whether distribution or publication of the newspaper has resumed.

Journalist attacked while working

According to an IFJ affiliate, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), Durga Sharma, local correspondent of Nepal One Television and Nepal Samacharpatra daily, was hit several times by members of the Young Communist League (YCL).

Sharma attempted to photograph a disturbance caused by the YCL members at a meeting of Rastriya Pajatantra Party (RPP) activists on May 27 at their district headquarters.

Although it is unknown whether the incident will be investigated, Maoist joint-district incharge Moti P. Risal phoned Sharma after the attack and issued an apology.

Subject of article threatens its author

Following an article published about the supposed issuance of illegal citizenship to Ashit Kumar Baidhya, principal of Prabhat Boarding School at Gaur, Rautahar, Baidhya allegedly threatened the journalist who wrote the article.

According to the FNJ, he hurled abusive language and supposed death threats at Prem Chandra Jha, central committee member of FNJ Rautahat chapter and chief editor of Terai Express, the newspaper that carried the article.

“The one bright spot is that the Labor Association of Publication and Communication is taking the demands of newspaper distributors seriously and is willing to improve working conditions,” Warren said.

“It is unfortunate that other community members cannot have the same respect for the media, and realise that there are better, more peaceful ways to dispute the publication of articles than through violence,” he said.

The IFJ, the organisation that represents over 500,000 in more than 115 countries, urges Nepal’s government to exercise control over groups or individuals who attack or threaten journalists for simply doing their job.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries