Nearly 100 journalists and media workers have been arrested during pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country, many of them after the government refused to give special permits to independent journalists to move around during curfew hours imposed on 7 April.
On 12 April 2006 detained journalists are Suresh Kumar Yadhav, Hari Narayan Gautam, Jagat Saud, Sudarshan Acharya, Bhakta Dhoj Bohara, Shyam Badan KC, Kamal Koirala, Laxmi Prasain, Kanak Mani Dixit, Kedar Khadka, Krishna Abiral and Kedar Sharma. Reporters Withot Borders called today on the Nepalese government to stop arresting journalists and other media workers, 97 of whom have been detained and 24 others injured during nationwide pro-democracy demonstrations since 5 April, and to allow all journalists to move around freely so they could do their job. The worldwide press freedom organisation demanded that the 10 or so still detained be released at once, condemned the violence used in the arrests and called for privately-owned media to be given urgently official permits to travel during day and night curfew hours imposed in several cities. Media workers reporting on the protests have been threatened, injured or arrested, including many leaders of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) who were targeted by security forces. Most were arrested by the police and army without warrants. 38 journalists were picked up between 7 and 9 April, including Deewakar Pant, a reporter for the radio station Nepal FM 91.8. Kanak Dixit, editor of Himal South Asia, was arrested for a second time while defying the curfew with human rights activists. Jagat Saud, correspondent of the daily Farwest Times, and Prayag Joshi, of the daily Sudur Sandesh, were arrested and beaten by police in the western town of Dhanghadi on 10 April even though they showed their press cards. Tej Prakash Pandit, president of the National Union of Journalists, was beaten by police in Kathmandu on 9 April and 18 other journalists were arrested in the west-central town of Butwal while demonstrating against the arrest of colleagues. The same day, protesters in Kathmandu attacked vehicles of the daily Himalayan Times and the Annapurna Post. Soldiers attacked the offices of the Paradarshi Daily in central Chitwan.