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Increase in attacks: 2011 starts badly for journalists

Increase in attacks: 2011 starts badly for journalists

Published on Tuesday 15 February 2011.
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Reporter Without Borders condemns the failure of the government to act in the face of the growing number of attacks on freedom targeting journalists.

Nepal has reached an extremely worrying level of attacks on the media, mostly the responsibility of political parties and religious groups.

“We call on the authorities to do everything to end these attacks, prevent a culture of impunity taking hold and dissipate the permanent feeling of insecurity which acts as brake on the creation of a free press,” the press freedom organization said.

To indicate the unacceptable state of affairs in a country where violations of press freedom are already considered to be commonplace Reporters Without Borders lists events since 1 January :

In the Morang district in eastern Nepal two journalists, Arjun Jamneli Rai, correspondent of the daily Aujar, and Bibek Bhattarai, correspondent of Janabidroha, had to stop work after receiving death threats. Threatening text messages warned them of their imminent death for their reporting on illegal building projects in the district. Arjun Jamneli Rai is under police protection, Bibek Bhattarai in hiding.

On 7 February journalist Baburam Raymajhi, of Radio Buddha Awas of Kapinvastu, was attacked by four or five unidentified individuals who injured him and threatened him with death.

On 6 February a group of men seriously wounded journalist Durga B.C. of Radio Salyan on his way home. His attackers used knives on his hands, legs and head. He was taken to the Nepalgunj hospital where he is still being treated.

The same day Milan Pariyar, correspondent of Naya Patrika, a daily based in the Doti district, was attacked for articles published a month earlier.

On February 3 Netra Tamang, correspondent for the national daily Nagarik, was attacked and robbed by a group of unidentified individuals.

On 25 January Shreeram Rayamajhi of the daily Janapratibimba, received telephone death threats at his workplace from someone unhappy with his news coverage.

On 14 January, during a news conference on quarries in the district of Lalipur in the north of the country, journalists came under attack. A group of men tried to intimidate the media and to prevent them publishing stories on the issue. Most of the Lalipur mines are worked illegally and are thought to be a major source of finance for some political parties.

3 days before Padma Shrestha of the national daily Nepal Samcharpatra was threatened in Katmandu for disclosing cases of embezzlement

On 6 January Dhaniram Sharma, local correspondent for ABC Television in Rolpa, was threatened by a telephone caller who said he wanted to “break the fingers of those who write the news.”

On 2 January Hama Chaudhary of Himal FM Radio in Surkhet district was seriously injured by three attackers while returning from work. He was stabbed several times. His attackers made it clear that their assault was linked to his work as a journalist.

On 1 January Baijanath Yadav, correspondent in Saptari for Avenues Television, was threatened by a group for his dispatches critical of Indian lawyer Sarfaraz Alam. He and his family were threatened with death. In the light of the growing level of insecurity he had to quit his job as a journalist

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