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Three journalists receive death threats; another attacked, his equipment destroyed; others verbally harassed

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

Nepal's Home Minister Urged to Intervene in Anti-Media Campaign

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), in calling on Nepal's Home Minister to publicly condemn the violence and abuse against journalists and media houses which has intensified since October.

According to the FNJ, daily reports of violence by members of the public, organised political groups and unidentified gangs pose a serious safety crisis for journalists, for whom Nepal's Government is not providing adequate protection.

A correspondent for Gorkhapatra Daily, Rajesh Chamling Rai, was attacked by a group of protesters at a student union demonstration in Ghantaghar, Kathmandu, on November 24. His notebook and important papers were confiscated and destroyed.

On November 21, Bharat Adhikari, of Himal Media, was verbally threatened by a man reportedly connected to the Maoist Trade Union in a separate incident in Banepa in the Kavre district of Kathmandu. The threats were mainly related to content in the current edition of Himal magazine.

The Himal Media group has been subjected to a succession of threats and physical attacks, including repeated death threats against three Himal journalists and an arson attack on the office of the group's distributors in Maitigahr, Kathmandu, on November 16.

On October 25, a Himal Media van was badly damaged while transporting the company's chief executive officer when attackers on motorbikes threw rocks at it.

"Acts of violence against journalists and media houses will impede Nepal's democratic transition, as a free media and freedom of expression are integral to a successful transition," IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

"Protection and safety for individual journalists and media workers must be a priority for all media houses."

The IFJ joins the FNJ in appealing to Nepal's Home Minister to honour his responsibility to protect journalists in their professional work, and to assist in efforts to raise awareness among the public about the social benefits of an independent and critical media.

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

For further information on recent attacks on media, see:

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