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Nepal 22 July 2008

Call for protection of press freedom after surge in assaults and threats against journalists

Among the series of attacks, demonstrating the growing risk facing the media in Nepal, were an attempted strangulation, a bomb attack that left one journalist seriously injured, vandalism and besieging of journalists in their offices.

“Even though the violence is not as bad as during the monarchy, the situation is very worrying,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. The republic should protect press freedom and put an end to the former practices of the monarchy, both in the capital and in the furthest flung districts.”

“The authorities should urgently guarantee the safety of journalists and punish those responsible for attacks on them. But it is just as vital for the political parties to take steps to ensure that their members stop behaving as enemies of the press,” the organisation said.

“We salute the work of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, which has for several years campaigned to defend press freedom. It is time that all parties and groups in the country react positively to the journalists’ appeals”, the organisation added.

Editor of the weekly Kavre Post, Bishnu Prasad Chaulagain, was attacked by a group of individuals who tried to strangle him 11 July. He managed to get away from them.

The offices of the dailies Hamar Pahura Daily and Gardener Offset Press were attacked in Kailali in the west of the country on 15 July. The journalists were insulted and then locked into their offices.

A gang of about 25 members of the community group (Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPFF) vandalised the offices of the daily Kripa in Birjung in the south of Nepal on 16 July. They also assaulted the editor, Kamal Upadhyay, and a journalist, Jeetendra Kumar Sah.

A time bomb exploded in the same town, leaving journalist Prakash Tiwari of the daily Satya Sandesh, seriously injured. He was taken to the Narayani Sub-Regional Hospital in Birjung

In the latest episode, on 20 July, Rajdhan Rai and Kishor Budhathoki, respectively correspondents for the dailies Naya Patrika and Annapurna Post, were assaulted by a gang of about 20 people in Khandbari, eastern Nepal after they wrote an article accusing them of stealing equipment from the offices of the district development committee.




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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