Attacks on journalists escalated last year in Nepal. A team of representatives from seven organizations found 342 cases of press freedom being attacked in the tiny Himalayan republic last year.
Attacks by individuals and organizations are forcing journalists to self-censor in order to survive.
Most of the accusations center on Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda. The team met with Prachanda and with opposition leader and former premier Girija Prasad Koirala as well as Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Subhash Nembang to discuss the findings of their report.
“Attacks on media workers, publications and property are unacceptable,” the mission said in a statement. “Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions and any substantive grievances over work conditions must be addressed through dialogue.”
The group stated to the government that attacks on the media are an attack on the citizens of their nation. Authors of critical reports are being attacked with no justice being served towards their attackers.
The group also asked for an investigation in the murder of Dekendra Thapa. Thapa was killed in 2004. The radio journalist’s murder is thought to be at the hands of Maoists.
Another journalist, Prakash Thakuri’s killing in 2007 is under question by the group. The government recently had the charges against the accused dropped. Mission members said that Prachanda promised that the case would be reopened.
The team was made up of representatives from ARTICLE 19, International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders, UNESCO and World Press Freedom Committee.
This year already has had incidents of trying to silence the journalistic voice in Nepal.
In January Uma Singh was killed.
Last year Rishi Dhamala and three others was arrested when police alleged that the group had been involved with extortion of a businessman on behalf of Nepal’s Terai. It is said that the police did not follow procedure in that arrest.