IFJ Calls for Public Support for Media Freedom in Nepal as Attacks Continue

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed by a

recent wave of attacks on the media in Nepal and calls for a strong public

affirmation of the principle of media freedom by the country’s ruling



The Federation of Nepali Journalists

(FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, has recorded three incidents of concern, all in the

country’s southern plains, or the Terai, adjoining the border with India.


In the first case, Gyanendra Raj

Mishra, correspondent of Gadhimai FM radio and a member of the FNJ’s branch in

the Parsa district, was injured when he was fired upon by a group of about four

unidentified people about noon on February 19. The incident occurred near Narayani

Stadium in the district town of Birgunj.


The attack on Mishra comes just over

a month after the murder of journalist Uma Singh in Janakpur town in the Terai

district of Dhanusha.


“The IFJ condemns the attack on Gyanendra

Raj Mishra and joins the FNJ in calling for appropriate action to provide him

with medical care and to bring those guilty to account,” IFJ

Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.


On February 21, cadre of the Madhesi

Janadhikar Forum (MJF), or the Madheshi People's Rights Forum, seized and set

ablaze copies of the daily Bypass, published from Birgunj. Two youth

leaders of the MJF, which is a partner in the ruling coalition in Nepal, were

identified to be behind the incident, ostensibly to protest against “false”

reporting about the party in the newspaper.


In a separate incident the same day,

a group claiming to speak on behalf of the victims of last year’s devastating

floods of the Kosi

River commandeered a

vehicle belonging to the Kantipur group of publications in the Haripur area of

Sunsari district.


The group seized copies of the two

newspapers published by the group from the national capital of Kathmandu and

the Terai town of Biratnagar,

and distributed them among the residents of a resettlement camp for flood



The motive for the protest was

Kantipur’s alleged neglect of the plight of the flood victims.


“The IFJ is alarmed at the belief,

which seems to be growing, that the use of force is a legitimate means of

redressing grievances about media content,” Park said.


“We call upon the ruling authorities

and civil society in Nepal

to strongly affirm respect for the principle that all disputes on media coverage

and content can be resolved through a process of dialogue or constructive



For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919



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