According to an annual report published by the Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders) in October 2007, Nepal is ranked on the bottom 10th as the worst violator of the press freedom among 167 nations in the year 2006.
Here’s the ranking of the SAARC region countries in 2006:
Bhutan – 98
India – 105
Afghanistan – 130*
Bangladesh – 137
Sri Lanka – 141
Maldives – 144
Pakistan – 157
Nepal – 159**
* Afghanistan has been recently added as the eight member of the SAARC.
** Nepal was in the bottom 8th, in 2005 and ranked 160.
The historic Royal attack on all types of media and media workers and the revolution against the monarchy in April (People’s Movement II) must have led Nepal’s Press Freedom ranking into the shameful abyss. Journalists faced imprisonments, torture, physical abuse, beatings and killings; media houses were militarized, publications shut down, cell phones disrupted, major public issues were partially or completely omitted – that was 2006.
2007 has just rolled by and things looked slightly brighter for Nepali media. However, it would be a great concern whether Nepal could drag itself higher in the ranking in the year 2007 with the alarming issues like abduction and murder of journalist Birendra Shah, several cases of other journalists who are still missing (and presumed dead), continuing attacks on journalists especially in the Terai region, among others.
As for the rest of the world – Finland, Iceland, Ireland and Netherlands were ranked on the top as the countries with total press freedom.