The findings and recommendations of the report "A call to end violence and impunity" are the results of the latest mission in February 2009 of the International Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression Mission to Nepal - also known as the International Media Mission to Nepal, which constitutes a group of international organisations as well as Nepali organisations that are closely monitoring and backing efforts to pave the way for a free and independent media sector in Nepal.
Prompted by an escalation in incidents of harassment and violent attacks against Nepali media workers throughout 2008, which continued in 2009 when the journalist Uma Singh was killed in January 2009, the International Media Mission went to Nepal in February 2009 to assess the situation.
The mission found that attacks against media practitioners had continued even after the installation of the newly elected government in May 2008. The International Media Mission found that - "various groups, that have been acused of attacking the media and journalists, are affiliated with political parties and groups all of which have specific demands for inclusion in the new constitution", due in 2010.
During the visit, the mission met with key decision makers and stakeholders to express support to local calls to get the media development back on track by ending violence against media workers and to put a stop to impunity for these violations.
Today, three months on, the situation has stabilised as no new attacks on Nepali media workers have been reported since January 2009.
- Media freedom is not a goal in itself, it serves to address the rights of the entire population. The International Media Mission to Nepal emphasized this point to key decision makers and expressed international concern with the developments in Nepal. We'd like to think that we had a small part in turning the situation around, says Thomas Hughes, deputy director at International Media Support.
The report is to be officially launched by the President of Nepal at an inauguration ceremony in Kathmandu today. Following the ceremony, a two-day regional conference on media freedoms organised by UNESCO is to take place at the Himalaya hotel in Kathmandu.
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