IFJ Warns Over Media Safety Crisis As Security Forces Arrest FNJ President and General Secretary in Nepal

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UPDATE 7 February 2005: Tara Nath Dahal has not been arrested and remains in hiding (Click here for further details)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has received reliable information that Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) President, Tara Nath Dahal and FNJ Secretary General, Bishnu Nisthuri have been arrested by the security forces in Nepal.

The IFJ has received reports that Tara Nath was arrested on Saturday, February 5 while trying to enter the United Nations offices to seek asylum.

Bishnu Nisthuri was reportedly arrested on Friday, February 4 from his residence.

The arrests follow the vocal opposition of Bishnu and Tara Nath of King Gyanendra’s decision on February 1 to dismiss the parliament, declare a state of emergency and cut all communication lines into and within Nepal.

The Royal Nepal Army had been searching for Tara Nath since his defiant condemnation on February 4 of the Royal coup in press releases smuggled out of the country.

Security forces raided FNJ’s offices and Tara Nath’s home on February 4 in search of him after he went into hiding.

The IFJ has also received reports that BBC representative, Mr. Netra K.C. has also disappeared after being called to the army barracks in Nepalgunj.

The IFJ is calling for the international community to support our courageous Nepali colleagues.

“Tara Nath Dahal and Bishnu Nisthuri are courageous fighters for press freedom,“ said IFJ President Christopher Warren. “They were some of the first to stand against the suspension of press freedom and democracy in the royal coup of February 1.”

“The world’s journalism and press freedom community must continue to apply pressure on the Nepal coup leaders to respect the human rights of Tara Nath Dahal and Bishnu Nisthuri and all Nepali journalists,” said Warren.

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