The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the Nepal Press Union (NPU) in condemning the threat against journalists by burning them alive by an ex-parliamentarian and central committee member of political party Madhesh Samajbadi Forum, Baban Singh, on September 14.The IFJ and its affiliates in Nepal also condemn continued attacks against a number of journalists in ongoing country-wide demonstrations against the proposed draft of the new constitution and urge the government to provide protection for journalists.
On Monday, September 14, Singh, while being interviewed live on Kohinoor FM, threatened to burn journalists, Shiva Puri of the Kantipur daily, Madan Thakur of the Nagarik daily and Gautam Shrestha of Avenues Television for their news reports on his party’s demonstrations in Rautahat district, in central Nepal.
The FNJ said: “The threat is a result of criminal mindset and the FNJ strongly condemn the threat issued to discourage and terrorize journalists. The FNJ urges the government to be serious on increasing incidents of attacks on journalists and ensure physical safety.”
On the same day in the capital Kathmandu, photojournalist Ashok Maharjan was injured and his camera lens broken by the stones pelted by protesters demanding Nepal to be constitutionally declared a Hindu nation. During the demonstrations, police also directed the water cannons towards photojournalists Prakash Mathema of AFP, Navesh Chitrakar of Reuters and Bikash Dware of Gorkhapatra, whose cameras were damaged.
The NPU said: “Nepal is becoming unsafe for journalists after series of targeted attacks during demonstrations by the political forces and the security forces. This is also creating a chilling effect on journalists. The NPU urges all not to obstruct journalists and media in their professional duty.”
The FNJ and the NPU has also demanded compensation for the losses of the photojournalists.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is seriously concerned by the deteriorating safety situation for journalists and media workers in Nepal. In recent weeks journalists have been attacked and assaulted for covering protests across the country, which is simply an attack on press freedom.”
“We condemn the comments made by ex-politician, Baban Singh, and call on the Nepalese government to support to rights and safety of journalists across the country.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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