The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns two separate attacks on journalists by groups of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in western Nepal in the lead-up to Constituent Assembly elections on April 10.
According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, CPN(M) captured a journalist for Adhikola FM, Maya Adhikari, at Vorle Village Development Committee in Parbat district. She was reportedly held for two hours on April 5.
Adhikari told the president of the FNJ’s Parbat chapter, Om Prasad Ghayal that the incident occurred as she was on her way to monitor the elections in southern Parbat.
The Maoists allegedly accused Adhikari of campaigning in support of the Nepali Congress (NC) and distributing funds to encourage people to vote for the NC.
The FNJ also reports that Nepal 1 TV correspondent Om Hamal was attacked by a CPN (M) group on April 7 after covering a meeting of the NC at Pame, in Kaski district. Hamal suffered a minor injury to his face.
According to the president of the FNJ’s Kaski chapter, Narayan Karki, Hamal had previously questioned the election tactics of CPN(M) cadres as they went door-knocking carrying sticks.
“For Nepal’s media to provide fair and balanced reporting of the national election and its results, journalists must be able to report on all aspects of election campaigns without fear of retaliation from political groups,” said IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park.
“Nepal’s transition to democracy depends on journalists not being hindered in reporting freely and fairly on the process and outcome of the election.”
The IFJ joins the FNJ in calling on the caretaker government, national officials, local authorities and militant groups to respect the rights of freedom of expression and access to information for journalists, and in doing so, for the people of Nepal as a whole.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries