Reporters Without Borders today condemned the continuing abusive detention of journalists, noting that 61 have been arrested since 14 April and that 20 of them are still being held for participating in a demonstration against arrests and police violence. Several dozen journalists have also been badly injured while covering anti-government protests.
The security forces have been given orders to fire on anyone who does not respect the curfew now in force, while the independent media have not been able to obtain passes that would allow them to work freely.
“We call on the authorities and the security forces to stop all violence against journalists, who are currently finding it impossible to work,” Reporters Without Borders said, calling for the immediate release of all the journalists still held.
After an 18-hours curfew was proclaimed in the capital, security forces yesterday fired on five journalists who were covering a demonstration organised by the seven main political parties in Jhapa (West). They sustained serious injuries. Thirteen other journalists were injured in Panchthar (East). At the same time, the authorities yesterday also extended the detention of Mulyankan Weekly editor Shyam Shrestha by three months under the Security Act.
Fifteen journalists were injured during a gathering in support of free expression and democracy on 15 April. Federation of Nepalese Journalists secretary-general Mahendra Bista said: “The police action seemed to have been prepared. Most of the victims sustained head injuries. It was an act of barbarism.”
Since 13 April, the information and communication ministry has been demanding that cable TV operators cease to carry the programming of Kantipur TV (KTV) and other TV news stations. Several radio stations have also been censored.
The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and 11 journalists representing ten media organisations yesterday condemned the renewal of a draconian government ordinance that poses a serious threat to the survival of the Nepalese media.