Violence, threats against journos down: UNESCO

Kathmandu, September 12

A study report published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation showed a significant decrease in reported cases of violence and threats against journalists in Nepal in recent years.

The report said stakeholders perceived the security journalists in terms of physical safety had improved.

The recently released report titled ‘Supporting Safety of Journalists in Nepal’, an assessment based on UNESCO’s Journalist Safety Indicators (JSI), documents the national state of journalists’ safety and the issue of impunity by providing an overview of the safety situation of journalists in Nepal.

It also points out the context of safety and the responsibilities of all stakeholders in addressing the issue of journalists’ safety in the country.

According to UNESCO Kathmandu Office, the report is the second title in the JSI series while the first title that discussed Kenya was published in June 2016.

The report was prepared for UNESCO by the Development Communication Society Nepal and SODEC Nepal and the research was conducted between February 2015 and March 2016.

The research was funded by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Programme on Development of Communication, a multilateral forum that promotes a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.

The report said that one journalist was killed in 2015, and many cases of threats against journalists had gone unreported.

It said, “Though there is a huge growth in terms of quantity in the media sector of Nepal, journalism remains professionally weak and economically insecure and journalists are in highly vulnerable condition in terms of physical and psychological safety,” adding, “Nearly half of the journalists do not have any appointment letter or contract from their employers and the journalism profession in Nepal is characterised by low wages, irregular payments, poor working conditions, and declining credibility among the public.”

The report further said that female journalists, already a small minority within the profession, are in an even more vulnerable position than their male colleagues, as they face problems such as exclusion glass ceiling, gender pay gap and harassment, particularly sexual harassment.

Journalists perceive themselves prone to be victimised by both state and non-state actors, and the prolonged political transition has further complicated their security situation, the report added.

“Impunity is very serious concern among stakeholders as prompt, independent, and efficient investigation of crimes against journalists has not been ensured,” it said, adding, “The faith of journalists in state agencies is diminishing.”

The report stated that the prevailing impunity in Nepal raises serious concern about freedom of expression and press freedom as journalists are practising self-censorship due to this problem.