Violation of press freedom continues

May 03, 2018

The Himalayan Times, 03 May 2018

Ahead of the World Press Freedom Day to be observed tomorrow, a media monitoring report prepared by the Federation of Nepali Journalists said press freedom violations continued in the country.

According to FNJ, at least 62 cases of press freedom violation were recorded till date since May 4 last year. However, the report shows gradual improvement in press freedom as cases of violation of press freedom in the past one year decreased by 11 compared to previous year’s 73. The cases include attack on journalists and press vehicles, and various forms of obstruction.

In the World Press Freedom Index, 2017 recently published by the Reporters Without Borders, Nepal was ranked 106th with global score 33.02 among 180 countries, six places down from 2016. The index reflects the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations and netizens enjoy in each country, and the efforts made by the authorities to respect and ensure respect for this freedom.

The RWB report stated that Nepal was a dangerous place for journalists to cover protests and elections. “Covering demonstrations continues to be dangerous for Nepali journalists. Many reporters were the targets of intimidation or violence during clashes between protesters and police in the course of several months of demonstrations in the southern Tarai lowlands, which fuelled political instability as well as physical threats to journalists and media,” it said.

“In 2017, the first local, provincial and parliamentary elections in 20 years were marked by many violations of the freedom to inform. Many journalists were arrested without a warrant and some were tortured in detention. Others were the victims of physical violence by party activists and politicians. Some reporters were denied access to voting stations,” it added. The RWB has also urged the new government to take steps to ensure full respect for the ‘full freedom of the press’.