Nepal: threats against journalists must end, says UN rights office

30 July 2008

United Nations human rights officials in Nepal have voiced concern over recent threats and actions taken against reporters and newspaper distributors, calling on authorities and law enforcement to step up media security.

United Nations human rights officials in Nepal have voiced concern over recent threats and actions taken against reporters and newspaper distributors, calling on authorities and law enforcement to step up media security.

In the past two days, cadres of the Madheshi Jandhikar Forum (MJF) have disturbed newspaper distribution and threatened journalists and those selling the Annapurna Post, Himalayan Times and Kantipur Daily in Birgung in Parsa district for allegedly not giving the group enough coverage.

“A free and independent press is a cornerstone of a democratic society, and it is imperative that all parties and individuals employ only lawful means to try to influence how and what the media reports,” said Johan Olhagen, who heads the Central Region Office of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal).

The Office said that while the media must report fairly and impartially, media outlets must determine for themselves what topics to cover and how to report on them.

Urging the district administration and Nepal’s Police to take urgent steps to ensure the safety of journalists and newspapers distributors in Birgunj, the Office called on the MJF to hold talks regarding reporting with the media.

 

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