2005: Nepal: General concern
Narayanhity Royal Palace
Re: Reinstate Press Freedom in Nepal
Your Royal Highness,
The Norwegian Union of Journalists (NJ), Human Rights House Foundation (HRH) and the Norwegian PEN Centre are deeply concerned about the systematic and aggressive attacks on press freedom in Nepal.
Since February 1, civil rights, including freedom of speech and expression, have been systematically eroded by the government in direct contradiction of international standards and rights guaranteed in the Nepalese constitution.
It has become clear that the government is sanctioning the use of threats, violence, detention and censorship against the media community in Nepal either through the direct government action or inaction in the face of press freedom abuses.
The comprehensive control being exercised over press rights has resulted in around 2000 journalists becoming unemployed, and put many journalists under the continual threat of arrest and violence.
Policies limiting government advertising and other revenue sources for the media, have impacted on the independence of the media and bans of the broadcast of news on FM stations have directly deprived the people of Nepal of valuable sources of information.
It is completely unacceptable to allow the harassment, intimidation and censorship of journalists in Nepal: their safety and right to free speech should be guaranteed under the democratic principles that you claim to adhere to.
The Norwegian Union of Journalists, Human Rights House Foundation and Norwegian PEN will – together with IFJ affiliates and other organisations opposed to your sanctions – be participating in a Global Day of Action for Press Freedom in Nepal on August 30 to express our solidarity for this cause.
We urge you to take notice of the global support for press freedom in Nepal and immediately reinstate press freedom in Nepal as a fundamental democratic right.
A strong, free and independent media will in turn support democracy in Nepal.
Ann-Magrit Austenå/s. Carl Morten Iversen Maria Dahle
president, NJ secretary general,N-PEN director, HRH
CC.: Minister for Information (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs