In Nepal, journalists kidnapped and threatened

Jun. 25, 2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed grave concerns for the future of media independence in Nepal, after the abduction of yet another Nepalese journalist, and the suspension of a newspaper publication.

With constant kidnappings and evident repression of the media in Nepal, we urge the government to step forward and resolve these dilemmas, IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

Nepalese journalist kidnapped
According to IFJ affiliate the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), district member of Press Chautari and editor of Khulamanch Weekly, Hridayaraj Gautam, was abducted on June 20.

The FNJ reports Gautam was at home celebrating the birth of his new born child, when two armed assailants arrived on motorbikes and forced him out of his house.

He has not been seen since.

Newspaper publication halted
Kamana Prakashan Samuha (P) Ltd decided to halt publication of daily Nepal Samacharpatra on June 19, and the evening newspaper Mahanagar for a few days from June 20, after newspaper hawkers, reportedly allied with Customer’s Solution Pvt. Ltd, applied severe pressure on the publications, according to the FNJ.

The FNJ reports that the group of hawkers stopped the company from publishing the evening edition of Mahanagar on June 19, and the same group had been trying to obstruct work for the past six weeks, demanding that management register a Maoist-aligned All Nepal Communication, Press and Publications Trade Union, report IFJ affiliates FNJ.

We strongly oppose these violent and illegal measures taken to disrupt a free media in Nepal, Park said.

It is disturbing that despite political concessions to protect press freedom, other groups are still interfering, often violently, with independent media and compromising journalists safety, she said.

The IFJ demands a swift and thorough investigation into the disappearance of Gautam to see he is returned safe and sound.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries

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