HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
The year 2015 was a harrowing year for the Nepali media. The April 25 devastating earthquake and recurring aftershocks, and blockade at border points in the southern plains had deleterious effects on media houses and journalists across the country.
A figure by the Federation of Nepali Journalists said as many as 1,813 journalists and media houses were directly affected by the quakes. Suman Bomjan, who was working with Gorkhapatra daily, died in earthquake in Kathmandu and news anchor of Radio Plannet Sirjana Lama died in Sindhupalchowk. Achyut Raj Subedi, who was injured in the earthquake, died while undergoing treatment. He was associated with management of Dainik Nepalgunj daily. Similarly, 14 journalists were injured in the quake.
The quakes damaged infrastructures of 266 media houses and houses of 1,158 journalists. Central Region-based journalists and media houses suffered the most. “Despite such a heavy loss of lives and property damage, the skill and prowess of Nepali journalists earned accolades from all. Balanced coverage of disaster-related news encouraged earthquake survivors to remain calm when many foreign media drew flak for their sensational disaster reporting. They set an example,” said FNJ. It also said that Nepali journalists kept carrying out their duties without caring about their own sufferings and difficulties in the post-disaster situation.
“The participation of Nepali media in search, rescue and relief works was praiseworthy. The FNJ made field visits to quake-hit areas and distributed relief to quake-hit journalists,” read the report. Meanwhile, the FNJ reported 136 cases of violation of press freedom throughout the country in 2015 and 144 (approximately 85 per cent) of them took place during the Madhes agitation. Both the state and agitating parties were blamed 33 cases of attacks on journalists. Similarly, five cases of physical attack on media outlets, attempted murder of 12 journalists, dismissal of 13 journalists and frequent disruption in circulation of newspapers have been documented during the period.