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Violence against journalists continues in Nepal

This statement was originally published on ifj.org on 10 September 2015.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in condemning continued attacks on journalists covering the political demonstrations in Nepal. The IFJ urges the government to ensure that journalists are not subjected to violence by state and non-state parties, and to support a free and safe environment for media reporting.

On Monday, September 7, 2015, photojournalist Bikram Rauniyar was attacked by police personnel while he was covering a clash between police and protestors near Ram Mandir, Janakpur, in southern Nepal. The secretary of the FNJ district committee sustained injuries and his camera was destroyed in the attack.

"I was about to take photos when a group of policemen walked towards me. I tried to enter a shop but a policeman pulled me from behind and hit me with a stick. Then they snatched my camera bag and hit me with the gun butt… I was shouting 'press' but they continued hitting me indiscreetly and also got my camera," Rauniyar said, recalling the incident while talking to online news portal Pahilo Post. The police only left him alone after the locals started shouting at the police for beating a journalist.

In a similar incident on Wednesday, September 9, Jitendra Narayan Yadav, member of the FNJ district committee and a correspondent for the state-owned Gorkhapatra daily, and Navin Karn, a correspondent for Makalu Television, were attacked by protestors at Rani, Biratnagar in eastern Nepal. The protestors also set Karn's motorbike on fire.

"When we were returning from the area, a group of 30 protestors stopped us and started striking my motorbike and pelting stones. I told them in the local language that we were journalists but they didn't stop and dragged my motorcycle towards a burning tire nearby," Karn explained.

Protests broke out across Nepal, especially in the south, over proposed federal structuring in the draft constitution. So far, 31 people, including 8 policemen, have already lost their lives in the violent protest.

The FNJ said: "The FNJ deplores the violence against journalists. We urge the government to immediately punish those involved in attacking journalists and also to take serious measures to stop this unfortunate tradition of attacking journalists in the name of demonstrations."

The IFJ said: "The IFJ is seriously concerned by the escalation of violence towards the media and journalists in Nepal and urge the government of Nepal to ensure the safety and security of the journalists."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Case history


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