KATHMANDU, Sept 18: Denouncing the arrest of journalists demanding the reinstatement of Radio Nepal journalists sacked on Monday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has demanded investigation into the incident. Nine journalists arrested by police were protesting against the sacking of three journalists from the state-owned Radio Nepal in Doti.
Issuing a press statement on Tuesday, the IFJ said it joins its affiliate, Nepal Press Union (NPU), in deploring the arrests and demands an immediate investigation into the incident. “The three journalists were sacked without any prior notice or administrative work,” it said in the statement.
The NPU and Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) were demanding the reinstatement of the journalists during the protests. They were arrested from Radio Nepal premises in Singha Durbar at 2 pm and released three hours later.
Those arrested included NPU General Secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, FNJ Secretary Ram Prasad Dahal, FNJ Centeral Committee members Janmadev Jaisi, Yam Birahi, Min Bam, NPU Central Committee members Dilip Paudel, Chakra Kuwar, Yogendra Balayar and Prakash Bam.
The IFJ said the arrest of nine union leaders and journalists for simply protesting against the sacking of their colleagues is a deplorable act by Nepali authorities that threatens press freedom and right to association in the country. “Journalists in Nepal are working in a volatile environment where they do not feel safe to report. This kind of environment only weakens press freedom and ultimately Nepal's democracy,” IFJ said in the statement.
NPU General Secretary Shiwakoti said the NPU condemns the removal of three journalists from Doti from their job and demands their immediate restoration to their posts. “We also demand that the government create an environment that is conducive to the freedom of expression, a guaranteed provision in the constitution. The government is dealing harshly with the working journalists so that they do not feel safe to report against the government independently,” he further said.