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International press freedom mission to visit Nepal

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ press release:

International Advocacy
Mission for Press Freedom in Nepal
March 20-25 2006

International Press Freedom Mission to Visit Nepal

In response to continued violations of press freedom and freedom of expression in Nepal, twelve international organisations, including a UN agency, global media associations, freedom of expression advocates and media development organisations, are undertaking a joint mission to Nepal from 20 to 25 March 2006.

After a first mission in July 2005, when a large group of press freedom and freedom of expression organisations came together to undertake a joint mission in support of the national media community, the March 2006 mission is a direct continuation of this process and the inclusion of more organisations demonstrates the ever-growing concern of the international community about the situation in the country.

The members of the mission will meet with a broad cross-section of the national media community to discuss the press freedom and freedom of expression situation. They will also meet with key institutions and decision-makers amongst the national authorities, security forces and other parties to stress respect for press freedom and freedom of expression.

In addition, the mission will visit three districts in Nepal - Pokhara, Surkhet and Birtamod - and will meet with local civil and army authorities and representatives from the local media in these areas. The members of the mission will also participate in a national conference on press freedom in Nepal to be held in Kathmandu on 24 March.

The international organizations participating in the mission include:

- Free Voice
- International Federation of Journalists
- International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House - IFEX-CH
- International Media Support
- International News Safety Institute
- International Press Institute
- Reporters sans frontières
- South Asia Press Commission
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - UNESCO
- World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters - AMARC
- World Press Freedom Committee

Three other international organisations which participated in the July 2005 mission are supporting the return mission in March 2006. These organisations include:

- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Press Institute of India
- World Association of Newspapers

The mission is organised in Nepal by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists in collaboration with a group of twenty-eight Nepalese organisations, institutes and networks. International coordination for the mission is being provided by International Media Support.

International Federation of Journalists

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