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245 Nepal journalists jailed in 2006: report

india Updated: Feb 02, 2007 11:22 IST
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At least 245 journalists were arrested and 180 were attacked or threatened in 2006, another turbulent year for the media in Nepal, a press freedom group said on Friday.

Nepal's King Gyanendra took direct control of the nation in February 2005 and launched a major crackdown in the Himalayan nation that continued through 2006, the report noted.

"Until his fall, King Gyanendra, a predator of press freedom, had operated strict censorship throughout the country," the annual report from Reporters Without Borders said.

Three weeks of massive protests last April organised by sidelined political parties and rebel Maoists forced Gyanendra to call off his direct rule and restore parliament.

"The democratic revolution which in April allowed the restoration of parliament, then in November, the signing of a peace agreement and historic power sharing with the Maoists put and end to the all-out crackdown on the independent media and opposition," the report from the Paris-based group said.

"Reporters Without Borders also recorded at least 117 incidents in which media were attacked or injured by the security forces while covering (April) demonstrations, a score of them suffering bullet wounds," the report said.

A total of 180 journalists were hurt, attacked and even threatened during 2006.

The group said that 145 journalists had been physically attacked or harassed in 2005.

As part of the peace deal, Nepal's rebel Maoists have ended the war and agreed to place their weapons and army under United Nations monitoring.

The new government has stripped King Gyanendra of most of his powers. His ultimate fate will be decided after elections this year to a body that will rewrite Nepal's constitution.

At least 13,000 people were killed in a decade of war.