IFJ Denounces Party’s Attacks on Journalists in Nepal

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calls on the Unified Communist Party of Nepal

(Maoist) to end politically motivated violence against local media, after a

photojournalist was assaulted as he reported on party-led protests in Kathmandu on May 9.

 

The Unified CPN (M), had earlier this year made a

public statement to say the rights and safety of media personnel would be

respected by its members and supporters during planned general strikes this

month.

 

However, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ),

an IFJ affiliate, reports several incidents of targeted violence against

journalists by Unified CPN (M) cadres across the country.

 

On May 10, Avenues Television cameraman Rabindra

Shrestha and Associated News Agency photographer Prabin Maharjanwere reportedly

beaten by a group of Maoist activists at a demonstration outside the Nepali Parliament.

According to the FNJ, Shrestha was seriously injured after being hit with metal

rods and sticks. His camera was also destroyed.

 

The FNJ expressed concern over speeches made by

Unified CPN (M) leaders at a protest rally in Dhangadi in western Nepal on

May 8, in which they accused journalists of slandering the Maoist movement and

threatened retribution. The FNJ fears the comments encouraged the attack on

Shrestha and other journalists.

 

On May 6 in Gogabu, in Nepal’s Central Region, journalist

and cameraman Sri Krishna Phuyal was attacked by Maoist protesters despite identifying

himself as a journalist.

 

During nationwide general protests

onMay

5, Unified CPN (M) supporters reportedly attacked the assistant editor of Shikshak Monthly,Sudarshan Ghimire, in Kathmandu, according to the FNJ.

 

Purbanchal

Daily correspondent

Gyanendra Niraula and RSS Surkhet correspondent Kashi Ram Sharma were also reportedly attacked on the same day in

Jhapa, a district in East Nepal, and Birendranagar, a district in West Nepal respectively.

 

Ramesh Chandra Adhikari, Dhankuta correspondent

of the Kantipur daily, was threatened

by Maoist cadres over a news item he published on the same day.

 

“Nepal’s

authorities must take responsibility to ensure all people in Nepal,

including those active in political parties, understand that journalists must

be permitted to safely conduct independent reporting on all aspects of the

political spectrum. This is a vital element in facilitating a peaceful democratic

process,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

The IFJ urges the leaders of the Unified

CPN (M) to adhere to their publicly stated commitment that the party will not

obstruct media and journalists in the course of their political activities.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide