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Five journalists receive death threats; driver of TV van injured in attack; journalist harassed while doing research

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

Attacks on Nepal's Journalists Alarmingly Regular, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is dismayed at regular reports of violence against journalists and vandalism of media equipment amid deteriorating public respect for the media community in Nepal.

According to the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), an IFJ affiliate, there were three separate incidents on November 20 in which members of the public seriously abused journalists.

In the eastern Sunsari region, five journalists reported receiving death threats via telephone from an unidentified group. Birendra KM, Ekwal Ahamad, Jaya Krishna Yadav, Pramod Yadav and Dhirendra Chaudhary were reportedly all threatened due to a report on child abuse published in a local newspaper two weeks ago.

A vehicle for the local ABC Nepal television station was attacked and vandalised by an unidentified group while carrying media personnel to Balaju in the industrial suburbs of Kathmandu to report on a strike organised by the Citizens' Struggle Committee to protest the murder of two local sportsmen. Nabin Khadka, the driver of the vehicle, was reportedly injured in the incident.

In the eastern Udayapur region, journalist and joint secretary of the FNJ, Udayapur Chapter, was reportedly abused by the manager of a cement industries company when he visited the business to gather information about corruption in the industry. The company's general manager has since issued an apology.

"As Nepal tries to stabilise during its transition to democratic governance, journalists are an invaluable asset to communicate important information to the public about political change and progress and therefore must be able to report freely and independently without fear of physical abuse," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

"Nepal's Government and police must take concrete action to intervene and stop the violent attacks on media personnel that are becoming increasingly commonplace."

The IFJ joins the FNJ in condemning all attacks on the media and demanding a visible increase in the response of law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrators of violence are brought to justice.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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