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Nepalese journalist forced to flee after receiving threats

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in condemning the incidents leading to the displacement of journalist Ramesh Rawal from Kalikot district in remote Karnali, mid-western Nepal, two weeks ago.

Rawal informed the FNJ that he was forced to move out of his home district after receiving continuous threats from various officials regarding his reporting for Karobar economic daily in Kathmandu and the local daily Hamro Karnali Khabar. The displaced journalist, who moved to a remote district from the capital city of Kathmandu earlier this year, believes that he became the subject of threats for writing stories on corruption by government agencies.

Rawal decided to leave the district after he was told that some unidentified people came to his home at midnight on July 14, 2014 and asked for him. The FNJ has sent a two-member team to Kalikot district to assess the situation.

The FNJ said: "Threats to a journalist over published stories is direct interference on press freedom and freedom of expression. If anyone is disatisfied with the published stories, there are legal means to seek remedies."

"The FNJ believes that this incident has violated the journalist's right to report freely. We condemn the incident and demand the local administration investigate the incident thoroughly."

The IFJ and the FNJ urged the Nepal Government to arrange safe working conditions for the displaced journalist and ensure his safe return to his district and place of work.

The IFJ said: "This is an unfortunate and concerning incident as direct intimidation and threat is a means used to silence the media and restrict a journalist's ability to report on critical issues important for democratic governance. This action must be condemned and investigated by the Nepal Government for the sake of media freedom in Nepal."

The IFJ added: "We urge the government and the local administration to ensure that journalists and their rights are respected and demand that the government [put into place the necessary] security measures to bring an end to such incidents."

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