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IPI Public Statements
IPI, Other Organisations Urge Nepal to Ensure Press Freedom
09 February 2009
Press freedoms in Nepal continue to face serious threat despite the hope that restoration of democratic rule would improve the situation, according to the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission that visited Nepal from 5 to 8 February.
The Federation of Nepali Journalists recorded a staggering 342 press freedom violations in 2008, including a significant escalation in the number of physical attacks on journalists and media organisations. Three journalists have been killed in Nepal in the last year.
The International Mission, which includes the International Press Institute, calls on the authorities to undertake prompt and impartial investigations of all crimes journalists.
One journalist, Prakash Singh Thakuri, has been missing since July 2007. Late last year the government withdrew charges against the accused kidnapper. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal assured the International Mission that the case would be reopened.
The reported kidnapping of journalist Pankaj Das in Birgunj whilst the International Mission was in the country must be swiftly followed up by the authorities.
The International Mission is deeply worried over attacks on media organisations, including Kantipur, Himal Media, Ankush Daily, Ramaroshan FM and the APCA Group. Such attacks on media workers, publications and property are unacceptable. Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.
The ongoing attacks, threats and harassment of media personnel and organisations are having a chilling effect on press freedom. Free and open debate is being undermined with journalists and media being forced into self-censorship, seriously jeopardising the peace and democratisation process under way in the country.
A pattern in the attacks and harassment is discernible. Critical reporting is being met with violence and perpetrators go unpunished. The authorities are failing in their duty to prevent, punish and redress the harm caused by such attacks. The violations of journalistsí rights is a direct infringement of the public right to information. Furthermore, the links between political parties and some the perpetrators of these violent acts are a matter of serious concern and would indicate the acceptance, and possible complicity, of those political parties in the violence. The Nepali constitution and international covenants that Nepal is signatory to place an obligation on the state to prevent these abuses.
Conditions for women journalists, already seriously underrepresented in the profession, are of particular concern as they are more vulnerable to attack and harassment, and are being forced to leave their work and sometimes to move away from home due to such pressures.
Press and Communications Manager
Tel: +43 1 512 90 11
Read Country Reports on 'Nepal':
2008 World Press Freedom Review
2007 World Press Freedom Review
2006 World Press Freedom Review
2005 World Press Freedom Review
2004 World Press Freedom Review
2003 World Press Freedom Review
2002 World Press Freedom Review
2001 World Press Freedom Review
2000 World Press Freedom Review
1999 World Press Freedom Review
1998 World Press Freedom Review
'Nepal' is on the IPI Watch List!
Journalists killed in 'Nepal':
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