Politically Motivated Attacks Increasingly Target Nepal’s Media

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) is deeply alarmed at the growing trend of journalists and

media being targeted by political actors in Nepal.

 

In the most recent incident on March

4, cadre belonging to the youth wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (United

Marxist-Leninist), or CPN(UML), attacked the offices of the daily newspaper Jana

Kranti in the far-western town of Mahendranagar.

 

Extensive damage was caused and documents

in the newspaper office were set ablaze, ostensibly in retaliation for a

published news item.

 

According to the Federation of

Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, a correspondent for Image TV was

attacked on the same day by activists of the students’ wing of the United

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or UCPN(M) in the town of Butwal in the southern plains. UCPN(M) is the

principal constituent of Nepal’s

ruling coalition.

 

The correspondent, Keshav Bhandari, was

covering a series of clashes between the student wings of the UCPN(M) and the

CPN(UML) when he was roughed up by one of the rival groups.

 

On March 2, according to the FNJ,

copies of the daily newspapers Kantipur and Kathmandu Post, and

the magazine Nepal,

were torched by activists of the Tharu Welfare Council in Khanar in the eastern

plains district of Sunsari. A delivery van carrying the papers was seized.

 

The council had called a three-day

general strike in the plains districts from March 2 to protest a government

decision classifying Tharu people within a broader ethnic category for purposes

of determining political entitlements.

 

The protesters were reportedly upset

at the failure of the newspapers to provide them with front-page coverage.

 

The IFJ fully endorses the FNJ’s

demand that all political parties in Nepal set a strong norm of

respecting media rights by explicitly denouncing these recent incidents.

 

“The IFJ once again underlines its insistence

that the use of force is not a legitimate means of redressing grievances about

media content and coverage,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline 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 mediation.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries