In less than one week, two incidents of journalists being physically attacked in Nepal have raised concerns about safety. Journalists Chhabilal Tiwari and Om Prakash Gayal were attacked in Parbat on August 9; and Radheshyam Biswokarma, Salman Khan and Deepak Ghimire were attacked while reporting in Rupendehi on August 5. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Nepal Press Union (NPU) in strongly criticising the attacks and demanding immediate arrest and punishment to the culprits.
On August 9, Chhabilal Tiwari, correspondent of Nagarik daily and chairman of the district committee of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and NPU, and Om Prakash Gayal, station manager of Radio Saligram, were attacked by local construction businessman Puskal Sharma. Sharma, who was reportedly drunk at the time, approached them and started attacking. Gayal was injured in the attack and Sharma’s cloths were torn. The motive behind the attack was not immediately clear.
Similarly on August 5, Butwal Today daily and Buddha TV’s Radheshyam Bishwokarma, Annapurna Post daily’s local journalist Salman Khan and Khabar weekly’s editor Deepak Ghimire were attacked by the students who were organizing a protest over the death of a fellow student at the Universal College of Medical Sciences. The protesters also damaged journalists’ equipment.
NPU General Secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti said: “The NPU demands immediate action against the attackers; and urges the local authorities to ensure safe reporting environment for journalists.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ expresses concern over the increasing number of attacks on journalists in Nepal and urges the Nepal government to step up to ensure safety to the journalists. The attack on journalists is a violation of press freedom and an attempt to silence journalists; and hampers independent journalism.”
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