Journalists freed; protests continue

New York, June 9, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes this morning’s release of more than 50 journalists who were jailed a day earlier in the capital, Kathmandu. The journalists, detained while protesting the government’s restrictive media policies, were not charged and the government offered no explanation.

Several hundred journalists gathered at the Bhrikuti Mandap exhibition grounds yesterday to demonstrate against King Gyanendra’s crackdown on the press and pending amendments to the media law that would codify the restrictions. Public protests are forbidden in the center of the capital.

Protests against the government’s ongoing restrictions—in particular the banning of FM radio news programming—have grown in recent weeks. Yesterday, a journalist group called Save the Radio Movement announced plans for 17 days of protests, including the reading of news bulletins over loudspeakers in the towns of Baneshwor and Patan, and the ringing of bells over the FM airwaves for two minutes this Saturday morning, according to the Himalayan News Service.