Reporters Without Borders condemns a brutal attack on freelance journalist Manoj Sah on 17 January in the southern city of Janakpur in which his both hands were seriously injured. Sah belongs to the Association of Revolutionary Journalists, a Maoist group.
“This extremely violent attack, coming just after a fourth visit to Nepal by the International Press Freedom Mission, highlights the dangers that journalists still face,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Those responsible must be brought to justice quickly. Press freedom was restored after the king’s removal, but now it is under threat again from violence by political, ethnic and religious groups. We urge the government to adopt a national plan to protect journalists, especially in the provinces.”
Sah was attacked by a dozen men armed with traditional “khukuri” machetes as he was returning home from work in Janakpur, located near the Indian border. As well as cutting his wrists, they inflicted serious injuries to his head.
According to Ashok Rauniyar, a local representative of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, his assailants shouted “Do you write the news with these hands?” before slashing both of them. Sah underwent an operation in a Kathmandu hospital, where his condition is no longer considered life-threatening.
Rauniyar said the attack may have been linked to an article about the Janaki temple in the local newspaper Bishwojagaran, and that the assailants may have been people who worship at this Hindu temple.
Reporters Without Borders has registered other very disturbing incidents in recent weeks, including repeated threats against journalist Bibha Luitel by the Prithvi Singh armed group in Birgunj, an attack on Krishna KC by a police officer in Lamjung on 13 January, an attack on Krishna Ojha by armed men in Panchthar on 10 January, and the ransacking of Devendra Gautam’s home near Kathmandu by members of the Young Communist League on 2 January.