Friday, April 20, 2018
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Press Freedom News

Local representative manhandle reporter

A Pokhara-based journalist Himlal Poudel was manhandled and issued death threat by a Ward member of Lekhanath Municipality 21 Ram Badahur Gurung on April 13 in Pokhara. Journalist Poudel is associated with Janmabhumi weekly and, an online news portal.

Quoting journalist Poudel, FF's representative for Province 4 Rajan Upadhaya said, "While I was working in a cybercafé, ward member Gurung caught me by the neck and assaulted me for reporting on public interest issues. I have been continuously reporting on the misuse of aid to the underprivileged family for bee farming, delay in road construction and other issues.”

Following the death threat and manhandling, Poudel has filed a complaint at Chhorepatan Police Office, Kaski urging for his safety and action against the accused.

To this, Deputy Superintendent of Police Nabin Karki informed that they have arrested ward member Gurung on the basis of the complaint filed and the case is under the investigation, reported Upadhyaya.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns such incident against the journalists. It is a sheer violation of press freedom. Reporting and making citizens informed about public interest issues is the primary job of journalists. While the country has shifted to federal setup, local representatives are urged to respect press freedom and journalists' right to free reporting. Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authorities to investigate the issue seriously and ensure safety for the journalists.

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post-Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
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Local representative and sand smugglers threaten reporters

Reporter to the Nagarik daily Shibahari Ghimire and reporter to the online news portal Ramhari Karki received threat from a group of people operating illegal sand excavation in Lalitpur district of the Kathmandu Valley on March 31.

According to reporter Ghimire, four people in two motorcycles followed them while heading to remote Dukuchap of Lalitpur where the illegal sand excavation was rampant avoiding administration's attention.

“Four people followed us after I took some photos of the sand mine area and some other people gheraoed us and started questioning why we took photos. They threatened us to leave the site immediately,” he added.

The two journalists however managed to call Lalitpur Police seeking help for rescue from the gang. Two police persons including Sub Inspector Krishna Sitaula rescued the two journalists from the group and provided security for reporting on the illegal sand excavation, according to Ghimire.

While returning from the area, yet again, another group blocked their way and started enquiring whether they were journalists. According to Ghimire the two police however told the group that they were not journalists 'to avoid further tensions'. The police finally escorted the reporters to their offices.

Importantly, Chairman of Godawari Municipality Ward No 8, Suk Bahadur Lama, was also in the group comprising sand smugglers, according to the journalists.

Earlier, Ghimire had received death threat from unknown persons after reporting about rampant illegal sand mining in the area last year also.

The incident shows journalists reporting the corruption, crime and irregularities are targeted by the various untoward elements. It is quite abhorring that people's representative is also in the gang to threat journalists.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident that has violated press freedom. If the police had not given security, escorting the journalists, the journalists might have been attacked. FF appreciates the police role on saving journalists, and also demands the local administration to immediately grill the smugglers to avoid future threat and attack.


For More Information

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

4102030, 4102030



Journalists barred from reporting

Freedom Forum has been alarmed over the incident that journalists were barred from reporting in Bharatpur, Chitwan, a city in the southern plains of Province No 3 in Nepal. Many reporters affiliated to different media were barred from entering the Bharatpur Metropolitan Office for news coverage on 27 March 2018.

Reporters Prabin Kumar Dutta, Ramesh Kumar Poudel  and Nawaraj Mishra of  Kantipur Media,  Sabita Shrestha of Nagarik daily, Tulman Gurung of Annapurna Post daily, Gita Gurung of Kalika FM and Shiva Aacharya of Sauraha online news portal were asked not to stay inside the office, while a delegation of businesspersons in the district had been to office to submit a letter of attention on the newly executed tax rules in the Metropolis. The administrative staff at the office, Prem Raj Joshi, told the journalists not to attend the program.

Freedom Forum expresses concern over the action of Bharatpur Metropolis banning the reporters from covering the news and misbehaving with them. It is a sheer violation of press freedom. So the Metropolis is urged to ensure journalists' right to free reporting for its transparent activities and respect to people's right to information.

For More Information

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

4102030, 4102022;


FF alarmed over National Assembly Member's demand to ban social media

Freedom Forum has been alarmed over the demand of a National Assembly Member to ban the social network as Facebook and twitter.

CPN (Maoist Centre) Member of the National Assembly, the Upper House of the federal parliament, Ram Narayan Bidari spoke in the Upper House that social media should be controlled and regulated in the country.

Speaking at the National Assembly meeting on March 27, Bidari opined, "Social media is quite popular these days. It seems there are no people who don't use Facebook. Twitter is also used widely. There are also Viber and Whatsapp.

He underscored, "The government should not only control and regulate it but make code of conduct. Law is essential to make them more responsible and transparent. Otherwise, it would result in huge loss to the country."

Article 17 clause 2 (a) of the Constitution of Nepal has ensured rights to the freedom of expression to the citizens. Likewise Article 19 of the constitution has also guaranteed the right to communication through any medium, including print, online or other electronic media without any prior-censorship.

At a time when the online media are used largely for fast and convenient access of citizens' to information, Bidari's view is intended to shrink the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution. Needless to say, FoE is imperative element to functional and vibrant democracy.


Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
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Death threats to reporters

Stringer from Province No 3 to Freedom Forum Ashok Dahal reported that journalists Rajesh Bhandari and Madan Babu Bhandari were issued death threat by a police person for reporting about his alleged connection in gold smuggling in Kathmandu on March 25. Rajesh Bhandari is affiliated with an online news portal- and Madan Babu Bhandari is affiliated with Kathmandu based Sushasan weekly and online media.

“A police person working at the crime investigation division, who was close to me, shared information that Assistant Sub Inspector of Nepal Police Balkrishna Sanjel told his colleagues to shoot him if he wrote news about him (police person),” said stringer Dahal quoting reporter Bhandari.
Then, the journalists have complained at the metropolitan police crime investigation division of receiving death threat from Assistant Sub Inspector of Nepal Police Balkrishna Sanjel.

Journalist duo had published the news story about the internal investigation of the police for alleged connection of Sanjel with the gold smuggling racket on and online news portals.

According to Dahal, Madan has been also receiving treat from the same police through various channels. “The ASI Sanjel has been sending threatening message to Madan that he would shoot indirectly through other individuals” he further informed. 

Sanjel was irked by the journalists for the news connecting him to a gold smuggler Chudamani Upreti. According to the news reports, police has formed a four-member committee to probe Sanjel’s contact with the racket.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the death threat issued to journalists. One can seek help from Press Council regarding the contents of the news published in case of any reservation. It is gross violation of press freedom that the security person responsible to provide security to the people is threatening journalists of life. Journalists' right to free reporting must be respected and protected.

Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to immediately investigate the case and ensure the security of the journalists.



Media Person manhandled

Media Person at Sarlahi based Lokatantra daily Bakhtiyaar Ali was manhandled by a medical doctor on March 18 in Malangwa, reported FF's stringer for Province 2 Rajan Singh. Journalist Ali is also Managing Director of Lokatantra daily.

Journalist Ali had reached the health center to follow-up on the news published few days ago about the hospital's facilities and services.

Quoting journalist Ali, stringer Singh reported that as soon as Ali reached the health center Dr. Rakesh Singh ordered his staffs to lock the journalist in the room.

Dr. Singh also tried to attack the journalist with stethoscope speaking foul on him. He had even called the police to arrest the journalist Ali, informed Stringer Singh.

Freedom Forum has serious concern over attempt to attack and misbehave against the journalist. A professional citizen should be aware about the fundamental rights of the journalists and thus should provide free access to information. Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to immediately address the issue and ensure free reporting atmosphere for the journalists in any sector.

For more information,                                                      
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
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Reporter receives death threat

Freedom Forum's stringer for Province No. 4 Rajan Upadhaya reported that Parbat based correspondent to Nagarik daily, Journalist Chhabilal Tiwari received a death threat for writing news from a contractor on March 15.

According to the stringer, contractor Rajendra Bhandari issued a death threat to the reporter calling from the mobile number 9851010433.

Quoting reporter Tiwari, stringer Upadhyay informed that he had written the news against Bhandari
few days ago about the negligence on the construction of Motorable Bridge in Nagarik Paschimeli daily.

Following death threat, Tiwari has registered application to the District Administration Office, Parbat urging for the safety and action against the culprit.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the series of the threat issued against the journalists. It is a sheer violation of press freedom. Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority to investigate the issue seriously and ensure safety to the journalists.

For More Information

Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu 
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
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Media persons attacked

Freedom Forum stringer for Province-1 Bikram Niraula reported that Ilam based Chiyabari FM technicians Krishna Pathak and Prakash Neupane were attacked on March 7 by an unknown gang.

Quoting FM station manager Prem Adhikari, stringer Niraula stated that the technicians were attacked while they were returning home from Radio station at 9 pm, however, the reason for the attack is not known yet.

Technician Krishna Pathak is seriously injured and is undergoing treatment at Birta City Hospital, Birtamod. According to stringer Niraula, one of the attackers has been identified. A complaint has been lodged at District Police Office Ilam.

Police have arrested three attackers on March 8 who were involved in attacking and looting the media persons.

Rabin Magar,19, of Ilam municipality 6, Manoj Magar, 22, and Kishor Limbu,18, from the same locality were arrested in connection with the incident. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ramesh Basnet, they were arrested from a forest nearby while they trying to escape the police. One of the attackers successful to escape arrest is being searched.

As per Chiyabari station manager Prem Adhikari, the group also robbed of Rs 45,000 and a mobile set of the media persons.


Freedom Forum condemns the attack against the media persons and strongly urges the concerned authority to take action against the perpetrators and take the matter seriously.


Kantipur contempt of court case goes to full bench hearing

After the hearing for two days with the recording of statement, the Supreme Court on March 6 forwarded the contempt of court case against the Kantipur Media Group to the full bench keeping in mind the seriousness of the case. With this, the date for the hearing of the case by the full bench has been fixed for March 11.

Earlier, on March 4, a division bench of Justices Bam Kumar Shrestha and Dambar Bahadur Shahi had conducted the hearing for the case.

A contempt of court case was filed against the Kantipur daily by advocate Toyanath Dhungana on February 15, accusing the Kantipur Media house of continuously targeting Chief Justice by writing baseless news against him in order to create aberration in the society.

He filed the case after the Kantipur daily published the news about varied dates of birth of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli in different documents including the citizenship certificates. The Kantipur daily had published the first news on February 10, mentioning that CJ Parajuli was holding four different DoB certificates.

It made follow up news on February 20.

While filing the contempt of court case, advocate Dhungana asserted that CJ Parajuli had already submitted his original citizenship in the court, therefore, there was no need for the media to create sensation about the same matter. The media coverage relating to CJ has influenced the sentiment of CJ and other judges, making them unable to not deliver service properly and hampering regular court proceedings.

Chairman and Managing Director of Kantipur Publications, Kailash Sirohiya, Director Swastika Sirohiya, Kantipur Daily Editor-in-Chief Sudheer Sharma and reporter Krishna Gyawali have been made defendant in the case.

The SC in the initial response had also asked the Press Council Nepal to initiate action against Kantipur daily. The verdict was given by the single bench of  CJ Gopal Parajuli himself.

The Press Council Nepal has sought written clarification to the Kantipur Daily for publishing the series of news.

A meeting of Print Media Code of Conduct Monitoring Sub-committee of the PCN held on February 27, had decided to seek clarification from the Editor of Kantipur daily within five days for publishing different contents against the Chief Justice.

“It is directed to you (editor of Kantipur) for submitting a clarification within five days explaining why you are not following Article 4, clause 3 and 6, Article 5 (12) and Article 6 (8)  of the Journalist Code of Conduct 2016,” reads the letter.

Freedom Forum is closely watching the case since the beginning.

Freedom of expression and information is the fundamentally guaranteed rights by the Constitution of Nepal 2015. As the independent judiciary, free press is equally important pillar of democracy. The Constitution also mentions that no publication would be banned.

To this, Executive Chief, Mr Taranath Dahal, observes, "As the FoE and information are fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, it is necessary for the Judiciary to maintain restraint. In democracy, healthy criticism by media is natural and normal. So, it needs to be tolerated. The harmony and respect each other among judiciary and media are essential to ensure functional democracy."

FF is to update the unfolding developments on it.

For More Information
Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

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4102030, 4102022



Journalists barred from reporting court hearing


The Supreme Court has barred journalists from different media from getting access to hearing on different benches on March 4, Sunday, reported Province-3 stringer for Freedom Forum, Ashok Dahal.

Quoting Shova Sharma, a legal reporter with the news portal, Dahal said security persons at the court gate barred the journalists from entering into the hearing of important cases, citing the order from the ‘top officials.’

“Earlier, the Supreme Court used to allow journalists having special press pass issued by the court to access the benches. But, they obstructed those having special pass from getting in for reporting on hearing,” she said to stringer Dahal.

Hearing on a contempt of court case against Kantipur daily is scheduled today itself.

Freedom Forum expresses serious concern over SC’s banning the reporters from entering the court premises for news coverage on much debated hearing a contempt of court case filed against the Kantipur daily scheduled today. It is the sheer violation of press freedom. So, the SC is strongly urged for ensuring access to free reporting on court activities.


For more information,

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

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