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Government and FNJ sign agreement to safeguard press freedom, security of journalists and media houses

(FNJ/IFEX) - On 28 December 2008, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and the government signed a ten point agreement in Kathmandu. After signing the agreement, the FNJ halted its ongoing protests against recent attacks on the media.

In the agreement signed by Information and Communications Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, the government explicitly agreed to a commitment in the Constituent Assembly to safeguard press freedom and the security of journalists and media houses, and to undertake an initiative to encourage political parties to formulate an opinion on press freedom.

Under the agreement, the Information and Communications Ministry will have a special bureau to look into incidents involving violations of press freedom and complaints will be sent to the appropriate authorities in a timely fashion. In addition, a taskforce with representatives from the Information and Communications Ministry, the Home Ministry and the FNJ will be formed to recommend a long-term policy on press freedom and the security of journalists.

The government will commit to carrying out legal action against those responsible for incidents in the districts of Dadeldhura, Achham, Dolakha, Sindhuli and Kavre, as well as attacks on the Himal Media group and the "Ankush" daily in Birgunj. The legal action will include compensation for the victims of these incidents.

The government and the FNJ will initiate talks between media house owners and employees to resolve problems and reinstate suspended workers.

The government has also agreed to appeal to the parties involved to allow for the "Kantipur" and "The Kathmandu Post" newspapers to resume publishing in Biratnagar and will request a resolution to the problems at APCA Nepal and the Kantipur Publications' office in Pokhara.

For further information on Kantipur Publications and "Kantipur" and "The Kathmandu Post" newspapers' cases, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99560

For further information on the attack on the Himal Media group, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99519

For further information on the APCA Nepal and "Ankush" daily cases, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/99541

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