IFJ Calls on New Nepal Leaders to Respect and Commit to Press Freedom

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
Media Release: Nepal
May 28, 2008

With the newly elected constituent assembly in Nepal due to meet today, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges all parties – and in particular the largest political grouping, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), – to explicitly commit to honouring all norms of media freedom in the new republican Nepal.

The IFJ continues to hold concerns about respect for the safety of journalists in Nepal after two incidents involving Maoist cadres in the run-up to the constituent assembly session.

According to reports from the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) an IFJ-affiliate, four Maoist party members entered the office of the Sudur Sandesh daily in Kailali, a town in the far-western region of the country and threatened the editor Hemanta Poudel.

The motivation for this attack was reported to be an act of retaliation for a news item published by Poudel on May 23 and an editorial published on May 25 that suggested corruption and illegal dealing by prominent Maoist figures.

In a separate incident in the same town, Lucky Chaudhari, the editor and publisher of Hamar Pahura daily was attacked by the Maoist-affiliated wing Young Communist League (YCL) on May 28. He suffered minor injuries.

The FNJ has identified the YCL cadres responsible and called for action against them. The newspaper’s “offence” was again to report on alleged illegal activities that the Maoist cadres were involved in.

The IFJ joins the FNJ in denouncing these incidents and calling on political activists and members of the general public to follow institutionalised modes of complaint and grievance resolution in matters involving the media.

“Journalists have a significant role to play in disseminating news about Nepal’s new political leadership, including all allegations of corruption and illegal operations, to the wider public,” said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.

“We urge the constituent assembly to set the example by reiterating their commitment to all the principles of media freedom and journalists’ safety that were adopted unanimously by the provisional parliament last year.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries


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