November 28, 2006
HISTORIC PEACE AGREEMENT IN NEPAL
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the organisation representing more than 500,000 journalists in over 115 counties, welcomes the signing of a long-awaited peace deal between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) on November 21, which brings an end to 10 years of bloody conflict.
The last decade has seen an intense struggle for human rights, freedom of expression, safety and a free and independent media in Nepal, and the signing of the peace agreement heralds a new and promising era for the nation.
While celebrating this momentous achievement, we must also acknowledge the vital role that the media have played in working towards peace. Throughout the 2005 coup and its aftermath, the Nepalese media have stood strong against adversity, intimidation and assaults, and have provided vital leadership for critical analysis of political and social issues and have been at the frontline of the struggle for democracy and calls for greater accountability for both party's roles in human rights abuses and censorship.
The IFJ applauds the consistent dedication of the IFJ affiliates, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), Nepal Press Union, National Union of Journalists (Nepal) and their colleagues, for consistently promoting press freedom in such a dangerous media environment.
The FNJ in particular have worked tirelessly to monitor and publicise attacks on press freedoms, and to host vital meetings with figures from both sides of the conflict, in an attempt to achieve peace in their country.
We are proud to have stood with our affiliates throughout their struggle and are in awe of their continued dedication and determination in the face of such dire conditions. This determination has paid off, and the IFJ is thrilled that after 10 long years, Nepal will finally see peace.
Respect for media freedoms is pivotal to a healthily functioning democracy and the IFJ looks forward to working closely with the Nepalese media to restore and further develop a strong, free, and democratic media.
The IFJ sends its heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the people of Nepal and the Nepalese media, in the run up to the Constituent Assembly. We look forward to a new, peaceful and revitalised Nepal with a strong commitment to defending human rights, an independent media and a strong and healthy democracy.
International Federation of Journalists