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Nepal 29 August 2005

Supreme Court orders the release of journalist Bhaikaji Ghimire

Bhaikaji Ghimire, managing editor of the monthly Sama Drishti, was freed on 25 August 2005 after Supreme Court judges ruled that his detention was "illegal" and ordered his immediate release. He had been secretly held for 15 months, being moved from one barracks to another, from Bhairabnath, Shivapuri to Rajdad, all of them in the Kathmandu valley, and then finally to Nakkhu Prison. Ghimire, who was made to sleep on the bare floor, suffered regular death threats and was put through mock executions. He was convicted under the law against terrorist activities.


24.12.2003

New wave of arrests of journalists

Reporters Without Borders appeals to UN High Commissioner for human rights

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) is extremely anxious about a wave of arrests and disappearances of journalists in Nepal, which represent a serious attack on the rule of law.

Journalist Ram Krishna Adhikari, of the weekly Sanghu and the radio Times FM, has been missing since 10 December. A wave of arrests and kidnappings of journalists throughout the country followed the announcement of a cease-fire by the Communist Nepalese Party (CNP-Maoist) on 27 August 2003. At least 15 journalists are currently being detained in Nepal. Six of them were arrested after the cease-fire was broken. The government has given no information about them. The international press freedom organisation has called for their immediate release if no evidence can be brought implicating them in the Maoist rebellion.

Reporters Without Borders also hopes that the Nepalese government will rapidly allow into the country UN special rapporteurs on freedom of expression and torture, along with members of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary disappearances. In November 2002, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello, responded positively to a recommendation from Reporters Without Borders to establish a permanent representative of the High Commissioner in Nepal.

Adhikari was seen for the last time on 10 December in Kathmandu during a meeting held by the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal (HURON). Editor of the weekly Sanghu Gopal Budhathoki, told Reporters Without Borders that his colleague, known for his articles critical of the authorities, had been arrested by plain-clothes police who accused him of supporting the Maoists. Reporters Without Borders fears for the physical safety of the journalist who may be tortured.

Security forces arrested Bhai Kaji Ghimire, publisher of the monthly Samadristi, on 3 December while he was on his way to work in Kathmandu.

Former journalist with the pro-Maoist newspaper Janadesh Dhan Bahadur Magar, an employee of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) in Kathmandu, was arrested by security forces on 18 November. He is being held in solitary confinement. He was previously detained for nearly four months in 2002, as a result of articles he wrote that were seen as favourable to the Maoists.

Since November 2001, the security forces have been arresting journalists accused of supporting the Maoist rebellion without regard for national and international law. Dozens have been detained, some of them tortured for writing articles in pro-Maoist newspapers or for criticising the authorities.

In the countryside, particularly in the conflict zones, journalists who investigate human rights violations find themselves threatened by both security forces and the Maoists.

Journalist with commercial Indian-based Nepal One television Matrika Paudyal, was questioned on 19 December in Kathmandu by members of the security forces. The young journalist was allowed to leave after several hours of questioning about her links with people running a pro-Maoist radio. On 13 November, soldiers beat up and then arrested Sharad Adhikari, correspondent for the daily Spacetime and the weekly Jannaastha in Ghorahi (western Nepal). He was released several hours later after the intervention of the president of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) in the Dang district. The same day soldiers questioned Babita Basnet, editor of the weekly Ghatna Ra Bichar for two hours about her sources for an article on the sidelining of a military secretary to the king. Security forces searched the hotel room on 8 November of Shahi Man Rai, correspondent for the daily Kantipur at Khotang (east Bhojpur district). They seized his notebook and also photos of Maoist rebels and destroyed buildings. He was questioned and threatened for four hours in a police station. On 3 November, Madhav Bidrohi, journalist with the daily Spacetime and president of the FNJ branch at Jhapa, south eastern Nepal, was detained and questioned for five hours by the security forces. Security forces seized documents written by journalists in the western Doti district, Chhatra Saud of Spacetime, D.R. Panta of Kantipur, Baburam Shestha of public Radio Nepal and Umesh Bhatta of the daily Farwest Time while they were preparing to send back a report to their editors in Kathmandu. The journalists had just finished reporting on the death of four students and six Moaist rebels in army firing at a Doti school.




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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Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised