IFJ condemns arrest of nine journalists

Kathmandu, September 17

The International Federation of Journalists has condemned government’s act of arresting nine journalists, who were protesting the sacking of three journalists of state-owned Radio Nepal in Doti.

Office-bearers from the Federation of Nepali Journalists and Nepal Press Union were among nine journalists arrested by police as they protested in Kathmandu against job loss of their fellow journalists.

The IFJ said it joined NPU, its affiliate, in deploring the arrests and demanded an immediate investigation into the incident. It alleged that the three journalists were dismissed without any prior notice or administrative work.

FNJ and NPU were demanding the reinstatement of the journalists during the protest. Those arrested included FNJ Secretary Ram Prasad Dahal, NPU General Secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, FNJ central committee members Janmadev Jaisi, Yam Birahi and Min Bam, NPU central committee member Dilip Paudel, NPU Doti Branch Vice-president Chakra Kuwar, FNJ Doti branch President Yogendra Balayar and NPU Doti branch President Prakash Bam. They were detained for three hours and released in the evening.

NPU General secretary Shiwakoti said, “NPU condemns the removal of three journalists from their job and demands their immediate reinstatement. We also demand that government creates an environment conducive to the freedom of expression, a provision guaranteed by the constitution.” The government was dealing harshly with working journalists, threatening them not to report against its activities, according to Shiwakoti. The IFJ said, “The arrest of nine journalists for simply protesting the sacking of their colleagues is a deplorable act by Nepali authorities and threatens press freedom in the country.”