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Nepal 25 January 2005

Release of Shakti Kumar Pun

Security forces released Shakti Kumar Pun of the national daily Rajdhani on 12 January 2005.

Although an official in Rukum district in western Nepal, Bambahadur Malla, asked him where he would be staying and ordered him not to leave town, the journalist returned to the Katmandu region and the head office of his newspaper.

He told Reporters Without Borders that he still felt threatened both by the security forces and by Maoist rebels. He said that Malla had strongly advised him to give up journalism, but Pun said he was determined not to give way to the threats. "I will continue it despite all sorts of challenges", he said. The rebels, who held him captive for three months between September and December 2004, refused to acknowledge his release.


07.01.2005

Army challenged about the plight of journalist Shakti Kumar Pun

Reporters Without Borders has called on the Nepalese Royal Army to come clean about the whereabouts of journalist Shakti Kumar Pun, of the national daily Rajdhani and to secure his release.

Pun has been held since 13 December by police in Musikot in Rukum district in the west of the country and not in a military barracks in Pyuthan, as army spokesman Deepak Gurung has said.

The worldwide press freedom organisation called on the army to explain reports given to the press and the management of his newspaper about Pun.

The organisation is particularly concerned that the authorities have accused the journalist of collusion with Maoist rebels in what appears to be an act of revenge by a local official.

Reporters Without Borders called on the army to get Pun released as quickly as possible. Five other journalists are currently being held in Nepal.

Pun was kidnapped by a Maoist group on 13 September 2004 in Baphikot in Rukum district. Security forces "freed" him on 13 December. Military spokesman Deepak Gurung said recently that the journalist was being held in an army barracks in Pyuthan and that he would be released after investigation. He added that he could be brought back "at any time if necessary".

But Pun is in fact being held in the main police station in Musikot under an anti-terrorism law that allows suspects to be held for six months without trial. He is reportedly being held over accusations of collusion with the Maoists.

The accusations were reportedly made by a local official, Chetprakash Upreti, in revenge for articles critical of him.

Colleagues, who have managed to visit Pun, say police are treating him well and that he is in good health.




In this country
30 April - Nepal
Radio station threatened by Maoists
8 February - Nepal
Nepalese media in great danger, International Press Freedom Mission finds
14 January - Nepal
Four arrested for woman journalist’s murder, while clandestine group claims responsibility
12 January - Nepal
Journalist and women’s rights activist brutally murdered
23 December - Nepal
Militant maoists continue their attacks against the media

in the annual report
Nepal - Annual report 2008
Nepal - Annual report 2007
Nepal - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
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