UN calls for greater efforts to protect journalists in Nepal
The emerging, horrific details of the circumstances of Dekendra Raj Thapa’s death in Dailekh District in 2004 are a stark reminder of the importance of ensuring the safety of journalists in Nepal.
The enjoyment of the right of freedom of expression and the respect of freedom of the press are pre-requisites for a successful transition to peace. Journalists play a crucial role in providing information that is vital for citizens to engage in their democracy. And journalists are symbols of the right to speak freely.
Past and present aggressions against media professionals and the failure to bring the culprits to justice, ultimately obstructs the achievement of a sustainable peace and the rule of law in Nepal. We are also concerned by reports that a number of journalists, who in recent days have been working on the Thapa case, have been facing threats.
We applaud the recent decision to include Nepal in the group of five first-phase countries to roll out the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. This reflects recognition that failure to bring perpetrators of crimes against journalists to justice, leads to impunity that in turn perpetuates the cycle of violence against media professionals.
More about the UN Plan of Action can be found at www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/freedom-of-expression/safety-of-journalists/un-plan-of-action.
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal
Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Nepal