(WAN/IFEX) - The following is an 18 July 2005 WAN press release:
Kathmandu, Nepal, 18 July 2005
International Media Groups Call for Press Freedom in Nepal
An international press freedom mission to Nepal concluded Monday that press freedom and freedom of expression have significantly deteriorated, despite the lifting of a State of Emergency in April.
The mission of 12 international organisations, including the World Association of Newspapers, called on the Nepalese government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) to respect press freedom and to end all censorship and attacks on journalists immediately.
"All combatants in the conflict have been responsible for abusing and contravening press freedom and freedom of expression," said the mission participants, which included United Nations agencies, global media associations, freedom of expression advocates and media development organisations.
In a statement released Monday, the mission said it was particularly concerned about the repression of community radio stations, which have borne the brunt of censorship, attacks and detentions in the largely rural conflict between the government and the Maoists.
To read the full mission statement, consult http://www.wan-press.org/article7724.html
The week-long mission included meetings with government ministers, senior officers in the Royal Nepal Army, civil society representatives and a cross section of the media community.
The twelve organisations participating in the mission were: UNESCO, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC, ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, International Press Institute, Press Institute of India, Reporters sans Frontières, South Asian Free Media Association, World Association of Newspapers, and the World Press Freedom Committee.
The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide. It represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 11 news agencies and nine regional and world-wide press groups.
Committee to Protect Journalists
International Federation of Journalists
International Press Institute
Reporters Without Borders
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers