Monday, December 17, 2018
   
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Press Freedom News

Third Session Following the second session, third session started with division of four working groups. The themes for the group were: Group A. Promoting the right to information and public disclosure Group B. Identifying local level data needs and filli

Third Session

Following the second session, third session started with division of four working groups. The themes for the group were:

Group A. Promoting the right to information and public disclosure

Group B. Identifying local level data needs and filling gaps

Group C. Enhancing data literacy

 

Group D. Building capacity to use data at local level

   

Photo Journalist detained by Nepal Police

Freedom Forum is alarmed by the arrest of photo journalist Barsha Shah of dessanchar.com, a prominent online news portal. She has been detained by police for three hours for taking photos of a protest outside the President Office on December 13, Thursday.

According to FF representative for Province 3, Ashok Dahal, Police booked her minutes after she took photos of four protesters trying to gift a toy car to President Bidya Devi Bhandari as their protest against the government decision to buy expensive car to the head of state.

"A police patrol copped her even after she introduced herself as journalist and not the protester and even showed press identity card to the cop", shared Shah, talking to representative Dahal.

“I was waiting for bus after the protesters were returned from the entrance gate of president office by the security. A police team came and asked me to show pictures I had captured outside the gate. I introduced them as a journalist and said that I can show my identity card but didn't show the photos I had clicked. Sub-Inspector Yam Paudel asked others to catch me and they also snatched my phone when I tried to informed the incident at my office,” said journalist Shah.

They also used humiliating words to me and said that merely possessing press card doesn’t make me journalist.

Shah was taken to the Maharagunj police office after half an hour on police van and released only after three hours of interrogation. She got her phone back only after DSP visited the office.

“I had to wait for three hours to get released because Chief of the police was outside. When DSP came back he apologized for what happened and stated that he was not aware about the incident,” she shared.

Shah has swelling mark on her neck due to police manhandling during her arrest.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident as it is sheer violation of press freedom. At a time where government intolerance towards the journalists is increasing, this incident targeting the female journalists disowns government competency on guarantee of press freedom in the country. FF urges the concerned authority to investigate the issue seriously and strongly recommend the government agencies to respect, protect and ensure rights of the journalists during the reporting.

For  More Information: 
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
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Police obstructs peaceful demonstration of teachers

Freedom Forum is concerned over the Nepal Police obstruction on peaceful demonstration of School Teachers' Association in Banke on November 29. Banke lies in province 5 of Nepal.

Freedom Forum's representative Laxmi Bhandari reported that a group of 100 teachers representing Teachers' Association were obstructed on the way while travelling to Kathmandu to participate in a program addressing their demands. They were forcefully asked to leave the bus and detained for whole night, reported Bhandari quoting Naina BC, a Provincial member of Teachers Association.

Those teachers could not participate in the program and returned back home after they were released at 7:00 am the next morning, informed Bhandari quoting Provincial member BC.

The incident has seriously violated citizen's right to freedom of association guaranteed by the constitution. Also every citizen has freedom to move and reside from one place to another as per Article 17 (5) of the constitution. Furthermore, the obstruction by state authority is strictly condemnable.

Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority to realize the fundamental rights of the citizen and help to implement those rights instead of being barrier.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
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Army officers misbehave with reporters and seized camera

President of Radio Trishuli, Kapildev Khanal and Station Manager of Radio Jalpa, Jagadish Khanal were misbehaved and manhandled while covering a news story on November 29 (Thursday) in Nuwakot. Nuwakot lies in Province 3 of Nepal.

During telephonic conversation with Freedom Forum, Station Manager Khanal said, "While we reached near Army Training Centre, one of the officer accused us saying, we haven't stopped motorcycle where it should be. Then, an officer misbehaved and thrashed me badly on the road."

Later, while Kapildev Khanal tried to capture pictures of their misbehave, the officers seized his camera and mobile phone.

Freedom Forum condemns the hostility meted out against the reporter and urges the Army Officer to respect the press freedom and right of the journalist to report in free atmosphere. Also, the concerned stakeholders are strongly urged to help in order to ensure safety to the journalist.

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
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Journalist Poudel misbehaved and threatened

Journalist Kamal Poudel, news-chief of Radio Sarangkot was misbehaved and threatened for writing news on 26th November 2018 in Dulegaunda, Pokhara. Pokhara lies in Province 4/Gandaki  province of Nepal.

According to the information sent by the Freedom Forum representative for Gandaki Province Rajan Upadhayaya, the incident occurred after journalist Poudel wrote news on illegal meter interest business in Pokhara where a woman fled taking million worth. The news was published on 25 November.

The next day, while Poudel was in his room, one of the relatives of the same women in the news story, Prajapati Parajuli misbehaved with him. He even received a phone call from 9856040238 where he was threatened for writing the news.

Poudel shared that he didn't complain while Parajuli misbehaved him. He revealed about this incident only after the threat call. Journalist Poudel has filed the complaint against both the persons at police headquarter of Kaski.

FF condemns the incident as it is the sheer violation of press freedom. Threat and misbehave inflicted to the journalist is not acceptable. FF urges the concerned authority to investigate the matter seriously and ensure that the journalist be treated respectfully.

 

For more information
Freedom Forum
01-4102030
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Journalist arrested under Cyber Crime offence

Chief Editor of www.postpati.com (an online news portal)  Gopal Chand  has been arrested under the charge of Cyber Crime by Metropolitan Police Range,  Cyber Cell  Teku on November 27, 2018. Editor Chand has been arrested by Nepal Police from Manmaiju of Trakeshwor Municipality, Kathmandu.

The editor was arrested for writing fake news in its news portal about the attack on one of the leaders of newly formed Nepal Communist Party. In his news he had covered a story of the attack to the leader by civilian using blunt weapon "Khukuri". The news was fake as no such incident took place. Editor is charged under the section 47 of Electronic Transaction Act- 2008.

FF condemns the step of Nepal Police to charge the editor under cyber crime offence for writing fake news. In Nepal, there is already an established body Press Council which has rightful authority to regulate and check the news content. Directly arresting the editor and charging under the Electronic Transaction Act is condemnable.

FF urges the concerned authority to respect press freedom and drop the criminal charge against the journalist and give the case to Press Council for investigation.

For More Information

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np

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Six persons arrested for protesting against Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister

Police arrested six persons from Srijananagar, Pokhara of Kaski district for waving black flags to Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari on November 26.

The arrested ones are Netra Chapagain, Resham Sapkota, Bishal Timsena, Narendra Basyal, Krishna Adhikari and Tejendra Bhattarai.

According to FF's representative for Gandaki Province Rajan Upadhyay they were held by the police in the district and going under the investigation.

 

Freedom Forum shows concern over the arrest, for it has violated citizens' right to peaceful protest. It is indeed the violation of freedom of expression. Such constitutional right of the citizens must not be breached. FF urges the concerned authority to drop the charge against the persons and release them with due respect as soon as possible respecting their freedom of expression and association.

For more Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
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Security Official misbehaves with Journalist

Freedom Forum is concerned by an incident where a journalist Kiran Lohani associated with Gorkha Choice FM is said to be misbehaved by Chief Super intendent of Police Bimal Basnet at Palungtar Gorkha. Gorkha district lies in Gandaki Province of  Nepal.. The incident occurred on 20th November 2018.

According to the information send by Gandaki Province representative for Freedom Forum Rajan Upadhayay, SP Basnet misbehaved with Journalist Lohani while he was at Palungtar of Gorkha to report the news. He shared that the SP insulted him infront of Chief District Office and other government officers of the district.

Lohani shared that he was forced to take responsibility of the news that was shared in other news portal.  "You are against me, do what you want and I will show you what I can do" said representative Upadhyay, quoting SP Basnet.

After the incident a meeting was held on 22nd November in presence of CDO where SP Basnet accepted that he said such thing as a joke to the journalist.

 

FF condemns the incident as it is the sheer violation of press freedom. Threat and misbehave inflicted to the journalist by security officer is unacceptable. FF urges the concerned authority to investigate the matter seriously and ensure that the journalist be treated respectfully.

 

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
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Govt declines access to information on cabinet decisions: a serious blow to accountability and transparency

Freedom Forum has been alarmed by the Government of Nepal (GoN)'s recent move not to disclose any decision of the Cabinet meeting held on 11 November 2018 Sunday, against the three-decade long tradition of making the cabinet decision public through government spokesperson immediately after the council of ministers' meeting.

Government Spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, who was currently responsible to brief media about the cabinet decision, said that the decision will be made public in the course of time. "The cabinet meeting has taken various decisions, yet the decisions will remain secret for now. You (reporters) will know about the decisions later. We are mulling about its arrangements," Baskota told media while coming out from the meeting.

Journalists had to wait outside the official residence of Prime Minister K.P Oli for the cabinet decision till late evening as it was scheduled to discuss on various issues of national importance. But, the journalists had to return empty handed following the government spokesperson declined to make any decision public. Editors of the media house are puzzled by this decision as well.

Earlier, the government spokesperson used to brief media about the cabinet decision immediately after the cabinet meeting. After government spokesperson declined to make the cabinet decisions public, journalists took to social media condemning the government's tendency for limiting press freedom.

Freedom Forum condemns the government decision noting that it is against fundamental notion of transparency and accountability. Nepalese citizens had the right to information about the government meetings for the past three decades, which was one of the commendable and established practices of GoN.  However, newly elected government has time and again made decisions that suppress citizen's right of access to information. Now, the media are forced to write news on speculation rather than facts.

 

Moreover, GoN has not made public any other measures to provide information to journalists. This incident has directly affected the constitutionally guaranteed right on Freedom of Expression and Information and Right to Media and Communications. FF concludes that the particular move of the government has targeted civil rights, political freedom, transparency and accountability which would ultimately enable environment for nurturing corruption and bad governance.  Hence, FF urges the government to amend the decision and respect the statutorily guaranteed citizens' right to access information of public importance and interests.

 

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
01-4102030
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Two persons arrested for sharing distorted image in Facebook

Freedom Forum is concerned over the arrest of two persons namely Krishna Dhakal and a journalist Kabiraj Dhakal under cyber crime offense by Nepal Police. The two have been arrested for uploading the disfigured image of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on 10th November 2018. The incident took place at Kavrepalanchowk district that lies in Province 3 of Nepal.

As per the information received by Freedom Forum, the two have uploaded the disfigured image of PM Oli on their social media site Facebook on 6th November for which they have been arrested. They have been charged under section 47 of Electronic Transaction Act, 2008.

During the telephonic conversation with Cyber Crime Cell, SP Narendra Upreti, he informed that the perpetrators are booked for affecting the social solidarity and public moral.

Freedom Forum views that if the offense committed by the perpetrators has resulted in affecting the public moral and disorder, the case could be dealt differently under public offense mentioned under civil code.

The use of Electronic Transaction Act as the cybercrime act is a sheer misuse of authority. The case could be filed under civil charge rather than making it the criminal offense.

Therefore, the arrest of the civilian and a journalist for uploading the disfigured image in the social media site has spread fear among every citizen for exercising their rights of freedom of expression on the internet.

 

For more information:
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
01-4102030
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