Mediapersons demand security

KATHMANDU: Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) today staged a sit-in in front of the District Administration Office, Kathmandu, demanding that the government ensure their professional and physical security. The protest followed the cold-blooded murder of Janakpur-based media entrepreneur Arun Kumar Singhaniya on Monday.

Various professional bodies and human rights groups have expressed their solidarity to the protest and condemned the government for being apathetic to bring the culprits to justice and lulling the general public into a false sense of security.

Earlier, FNJ Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur chapters staged a joint rally before converging into the sit-in. The agitating journalists displayed placards and banners and chanted slogans against the Home Minister.

Various journalists, professionals and human rights activists drew the attention of the government towards increasing insecurity and threats elsewhere in the country and questioned the government's justification for clinging to power at this critical juncture.

Kanak Mani Dixit, publisher, Himal Khabarpatrika lamented that mediapersons and entrepreneurs were facing mounting pressure from armed groups and criminals merely because they did not sacrifice press freedom and braved threats. He called on the government not to shelter the culprits behind the killing and intimidation of media entrepreneurs, professionals, journalist and the general public. "We'll stand united to press the panic button and draw the government's attention towards our plight. Such attacks, threats and intimidation will not help them smash our pen, microphone and camera," warned Dixit.

Journalist and human rights activist Purusottam Dahal argued that criminals switched their target to media entrepreneurs after they failed to frighten the journalists in recent times. "Now the criminals are making an unsuccessful bid to shut up our mouth by killing the media entrepreneurs one by one, taking an advantage of thriving culture of impunity in the country," he said appealing the government not to shut its eyes amidst heightening insecurity in the country.

Bishnu Hari Dhakal, chairman, Broadcasting Association of Nepal alleged that criminals under the shelter of politicians were craning their head at journalists and media entrepreneurs due to their unsacred collaboration with police administration. He argued the government had lost its moral grounds to steer the state as it is incompetent to maintain peace and security. "Even Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal couldn't to express his commitment for delivering a sense of security to the journalists in words. It is very shameful and unfortunate," he said.

Dr Kedar Narasingh KC, chairman, Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy (PAPAD) said the murder of Singhaniya and murder attempt on Nagender K Pampati, managing director, Bharatpur Medical College exemplified the sorry state of the country. "The government should step down without further delay if it cannot guarantee the security of the general public," he said. PAPAD will organise a demonstration in Kathmandu on Sunday to protest the killing.