End impunity for crimes against journos: FNJ

Kathmandu, November 2

The Federation of Nepali Journalists today said that as many as 36 journalists were killed in Nepal since 1996 when Maoist insurgency started.

A press release issued by FNJ on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, stated that five journalists had been disappeared during the period. “Of the 36 journalists, the government has done justice to only five by initiating action against the culprits. The government seems to be doing nothing in the case other victims. Even in the case of five disappeared, the victim parties still await justice,” stated the release.

According to International Federation of Journalists, two media workers have been murdered each week on average this year — 73 to date, making it likely the number of those killed will meet or exceed that of 2017 when 82 media workers were murdered. The biggest reason people continue to do it is because they know they can get away with it.

As long as impunity is at 90 per cent, most people think they are not going to be held to account for it. In 2013, the United Nations designated November 2 as International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, yet the impunity rate has remain unchanged, even as attacks are increasing.

Similarly, FNJ warned that press freedom violations continued in the country. A total of 1,807 incidents of press freedom violations were reported over a period of 10 years in Nepal. “Perpetrators of only a few cases have been brought to book while letting others off the hook. Most of the cases are settled through mutual understanding. The failure to punish the guilty even after their identification has contributed to press freedom violation,” said FNJ.

However, the FNJ report shows gradual improvement in press freedom as cases of violation in the fiscal 2017-18 decreased by 10 compared to previous fiscal’s 73. Since mid-April this year, 35 cases of press freedom violations have been recorded by FNJ.

Meanwhile, FNJ has urged the government and all concerned parties to put an end to attack of all forms on journalists and media, initiate action against those involved in murder of and attack on journalists, make public the status of those disappeared and guarantee press freedom. In the World Press Freedom Index, 2017, published by Reporters Without Borders, Nepal was ranked 106th with a global score 33.02 among 180 countries, six places down from 2016.