Nepal: Union officials arrested protesting job losses17 Sep, 2019
Union leaders from the Nepal Press Union (NPU) and the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) were among nine journalists arrested as they protested job losses in Kathmandu on Monday. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the NPU in deploring the arrests and demands an immediate investigation into the incident.
Journalists were protesting against the sacking of three journalists from Radio Nepal in Doti on Monday. Radio Nepal is the government-owned radio. The three journalists were sacked without any prior notice or administrative work.
NPU and FNJ were demanding the reinstatement of the journalists’ jobs during the protests. At 2pm nine union leaders, including Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, NPU general secretary, Ram Prasad Dahal, FNJ secretary, Janmadev Jaisi, Yam Birahi, Min Bam, FNJ central committee, Dilip Paudel, NPU central committee, Chakra Kuwar, NPU Doti Branch Vice President, Yogendra Balayar, FNJ Doti Branch President and Prakash Bam, NPU Doti Branch President were arrested. They were detained for three hours, and released at 5pm.
NPU general secretary Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti said: “NPU condems the removal of three journalists from Doti from their job and demands their immediate restoration into their job. We also demand that government create an environment that is conducive to the freedom of expression, a guaranteed provision in the constitution.
Government is dealing harshly with the working journalists so that they do not feel safe to report against the government independently. Latest detentions of journalists show the intention of the government toward journalists and journalism in Nepal.”
The IFJ said: “The arrest of nine union leaders and journalists for simply protesting the sacking of their colleagues is a deplorable act by Nepali authorities and 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.”