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Obstructing freedom of the press In Nepal

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According to IFEX "The Committee to Protect Journalists is increasingly concerned about the fate of missing journalist Birendra Shah as political pressure mounts in Nepal to find him. CPJ called for the release of Shah, who reports for Nepal FM, Dristi Weekly, and Avenues TV, on Wednesday. He was abducted by local Maoist cadres in Bara district in central Nepal, according to the Federation of Nepalese Journalists.

"We are very concerned for safety of Birendra Shah, who has been missing for a week," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "We welcome the recognition of the urgency of this case within Nepal and hope that it produces immediate information about Shah's whereabouts." (Source:http://www.ifex.org/)Press

freedom has always been the freedom the Nepali people want most.
An objective and free press has empowered the Nepali people.
Recently the international media has welcomed the Nepali parliament's
endorsement of the right to information act. It was a good move for
press freedom, but on the other hand journalists are becoming victims
in Nepal. This shows that Maoists have not learned freedom and democracy.

Nepali Press have played a vital role in bringing accurate information to the people. The Maoists even fired almost 49 journalists. The Maoists are
obstructing freedom of the press.

Maoists also forced Radio HBC-FM off the air. FNJ condemns the
Maoists' sacking of 45 journalists from the Gorkhapatra daily papers.
They were working in the corporation on contract basis and some of
them have worked for as long as 14 years. On the other hand,
Revolutionary Journalist Association, said that only the journos
whose contract had expired had been removed from Gorkhapatra.

Reporters Without Borders has voiced concern about a growing threat to
press freedom in Nepal. Reporters Without Borders said: "We appeal to
the CPN-M and its affiliated unions to cease their attacks on press
freedom and to respect the laws reestablishing civil rights and
freedoms." There have been over 116 incidents of attempts to prevent
journalists from doing their job of informing the people between 1
January and 31 July 2007 alone, according to International Press
Freedom Mission in Nepal.These incidents include arrests, attacks on
media companies, abduction of journalists, threats and harassment and
obstructions to the free flow of information, including disruptions in
the production processes.

During the war, the Maoists' first targets for attack were journalists. Journalists were always the most victimized of Nepal's people. Both the government and the Communists have been threatening journalists for the last 10 years. Hundreds of journalists were disappeared or killed in the so-called Maoist War. Death threats to Nepali journalists are common. Maoists do not tolerate any media criticism of their violence.
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" I cannot remember how Maoists killed Dekendra Raj Thapa, a reporter
with the state-run Radio Nepal in Dailekh district. Maoists had
'executed' him after detaining him for nearly six weeks. They killed
him and I saw the picture of him. I could not sleep for two days. It
was a criminals gangs' behavior, and should be corrected." She
further said, "Even it is a danger job, but journalist always have to
play a vital role to protect freedom." Many journalists have been
killed, but there is no justice or compassion for their families in
Nepal.Even in recent days some unidentified army groups are killing
innocent people.

"Objective media and journalists are what we need today." said a
local politician Puja Shrestha in Nepal. "Crime against journalists
should be discouraged."

"As for anti-peace, one has to wait for some time, even though
intimidation, coercion, extortion, abductions and killings, etc are
going on. Only thing that seems to have been halted, is attacks on
government and public places. Yesterday's evening news paper, reports
that there were groups who have threatened anyone going to criticize
them. Yes, press freedom is the basis on which all life rests" she

It is true, a free press, or media in general, if it remains
objective, is the only way the Nepali people can see what is happening
in Nepal.

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Journalist, poet and editor Kamala Budhathoki Sarup specializes in reporting news and writing stories covering Freedom, Peace, Public health, Democracy, Women/Children, development, justice and advocacy from her location inside the United (more...)

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