Concerns about attacks on journos

KATHMANDU: Reporters Without Borders expressed concerns about continuing physical violence against journalists in Nepal.

In the most recent case, a woman journalist, Tika Bista, was physically assaulted in the western district, Rukum on December 8 as she criticised the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in an article. She has been hospitalised in a serious condition.

The press freedom organisation is also shocked to learn that two members of the UCPN-Maoist have been promoted within the party’s local secretariat in Bara although they were alleged for their involvement in the 2007 murder of journalist Birendra Shah.

“Even if we are pleased by the information minister’s decision to take charge of Tika Bista’s hospitalisation, we continue to be worried about the impunity that seems to be granted to those, who attack media freedom in Nepal and do not hesitate to kill or use violence,” said Reporters Without Borders.

“We urge the Maoist party to condemn this violence and not to promote those, who are linked to it. We also call on the Nepalese government to ensure that both of these cases are properly investigated,” added the organisation.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) today said that the Nepal

Police should thoroughly investigate reports that journalist Bista was brutally attacked in reprisal for her work.

“The media environment for journalists has not improved since Nepal’s transition to democratic rule in 2008,” said Bob Dietz, programme coordinator, CPJ. “The Police must investigate the death threats

Bista received and bring the perpetrators of this vicious attack to justice.”

CPJ research shows that acts of violence against Nepali journalists historically have occurred frequently and without official investigations. The attack against Bista is the most serious journalist assault reported in Nepal since the shocking January murder of Uma Singh.

CPJ wrote to Maoist chairman and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal

‘Prachanda’ in February to protest the rise in unpunished attacks on the press.

Since then, political rifts within the democratically elected coalition government have slowed efforts to combat impunity.

Nepal is placed eighth on CPJ’s 2009 Impunity Index.

The body has been ranking the 14 worst countries in the world for solving journalist murders since 1998.

FNJ probe team to leave for Rukum

KATHMANDU: The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) on Friday formed a three-member team to investigate into the attack on Tika Bista, a Rukum based correspondent of Rajdhani daily.

Posan KC, general secretary FNJ told The Himalayan Times that the team has been formed under the coordination of Ramesh Bista, treasurer FNJ. Similarly other members are Janak Nepal, central member, FNJ and Pratap Regmi, chairman FNJ-Dang. He stated that the team would submit a report on the case within few days.

KC said that they had also announced a week-long protest from Saturday on. “We are organising a massive protest rally of women journalists from Sundhara to World Trade Centre, tomorrow morning,” he added.”

KC also revealed that a memorandum would be submitted to the Home Minister on December 13 and leaders of political parties on December 14. “Journalists are tying black bands on their arms at work on December 15,” he said. Meanwhile, a discussion with stakeholders and professionals for the security of journalists on December 17 and a street discussion on December 18 have been planned.

NGO condemns

KATHMANDU: Human Rights and Peace Society (HURPES) on Friday condemned the attack on Tika Bista, Rukum correspondent Rajdhani daily. HURPES in a press statement has demanded the government to investigate the case and punish the assailants.

The press statement further appealed the government to end impunity and establish peace and security in the country.