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Journalists' situation still pathetic in Nepal: International Media Mission

The International Fact Finding and Advocacy Media Mission which was on the five day Nepal visit organized a pogramme on 27 February 2012 in Kathmandu and informed media about what it found regarding the media freedom situation in Nepal.

As per the joint press statement, the Mission issued, the rate of threats and attacks on journalists remained unacceptably high and there was disturbing degree of political protection being afforded to the perpetrators. 

According to the Media Mission, those responsible for murdering journalists remain a large, promoting a culture of impunity and leading to widespread self-censorship by journalists.
The observation of the International Mission in Janakpur and Biratnagar showed that the situation of journalists in the eastern region, especially in the southern plain was very pathetic.

The Mission was concerned over the weaker provision being proposed in the new constitution in terms of freedom of expression as compared to the 1990 Constitution.

The International Mission focused on two key areas: legal and policy reform, and attacks on journalists and the culture of impunity during the five day study.

Similarly, it showed concern with the growing threats to online freedom of expression and application of restrictive regulations to the Internet.

Showing the problems in the media sector in Nepal, the International Mission urged the concerned bodies, political leaders, ministers and Prime Minister to fully implement the Working Journalists' Act.

Reasoning these, the Mission called on relevant actors to address the following media freedom needs: strengthening proposes constitutional guarantees, development of an inclusive media policy, limiting the scope of classification of information and end of the culture of impunity.

The Mission met with the responsible persons- including the Prime Minister, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Ministers, political party leaders- and made them aware about media situation. In particular, the UCPN-Maoist and the CPN-UML were shown concern about not taking action on it cadres who were behind the attacks on journalists.

This is the seventh International Media Mission to Nepal, starting with a mission in July 2005.

The International Mission was represented by AMARC, article 19, Centre for Law and democracy (CLD), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), International Federation of journalists (IFJ), International News Safety Institute (INSI), International Media Support (IMS), International Press Institute (IPI), Internews, Open Society Foundation (OSF), Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF), South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) and UNESCO.