April 20, 2012
Nepal ranks 6th in the world in unsolved cases of journalists' murder in the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) new Impunity Index, which was updated this week. Last year, Nepal ranked 7th in the Index. This year, it overtook Afghanistan.
Here are the top-ranking 12 countries with unsolved cases:
1. Iraq: 93 unsolved cases
2. Somalia: 11 unsolved cases
3. Philippines: 55 unsolved cases
4. Sri Lanka: 9 unsolved cases
5. Colombia: 8 unsolved cases
6. Nepal: 5 unsolved cases
7. Afghanistan: 5 unsolved cases
8. Mexico: 15 unsolved cases
9. Russia: 16 unsolved cases
10. Pakistan: 19 unsolved cases
11. Brazil: 5 unsolved cases
12. India: 6 unsolved cases
In issuing its update, CPJ explained its increasing concern over the safety of Nepali journalists as follows:
Weak law enforcement and a culture of political protection created the climate of impunity in Nepal, where five journalist murders remain unsolved. Maoist leaders, for example, have tried to block an investigation into the 2007 abduction and killing of journalist Prakash Singh Thakuri. Even after the Supreme Court ordered the Thakuri probe to go forward, authorities have produced no results. Nepal did achieve some notable success in two other cases, however. In 2011, two suspects were convicted in the killing two years earlier of Uma Singh, who had reported on sensitive issues such as women's rights and communal violence.
In the meantime, The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) in condemning the series of attacks and threats that have been made against journalists in Nepal during the month of April.
Reports received by the IFJ state that Subash Chandra Sah, Bara District Correspondent for Rajdhani Daily and Radio Nepal and the publisher of Namaste Times Daily, was attacked by an unidentified group at 6.30 pm, in Kalaiya, Bara District, in the central region of Nepal, on April 13, 2012.
Sah reportedly sustained injuries to his body, and is receiving treatment in hospital.
In another incident, Rajendra Adhikari, editor and publisher of Don News Daily and photo journalist Bandhuram Parajuli, also of the Don News Daily, were both allegedly threatened by Gundaraj Shrestha 'Min', an activist of the UCPN, a Maoist affiliated labour union, in response to stories published in Nepal’s western region on April 13, 2012.
Shrestha allegedly telephoned the newspaper office and threatened to kill the two journalists if they did not stop publishing stories about a transport syndicate in the area.
These incidents follow the attack on journalist Krishna Neupane, on April 9, and the violent murder of correspondent Yadav Poudel, in Nepal on April 1, 2012.
“The IFJ is concerned by the escalating pattern of attacks and threats of violence against journalists in Nepal in 2012,” the IFJ Asia-Pacific Office said.
“The IFJ Asia Pacific supports calls to see that timely and efficient investigations are undertaken into the attacks and threats, and demands that those responsible be brought to justice.”
This month’s incidents provide further weight to the recommendations made by the International Mission that traveled to Nepal in February 2012. The Mission made specific calls to action in two key areas, namely legal and policy reform surrounding attacks on journalists and the culture of impunity.
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries.