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Press Freedom News

State TV journalist losses job for critical question to minister

State owned Nepal Television has shut down a talk show and terminated contract with the talk show host Journalist Raju Thapa for asking critical question to the Communication and Information Technology Minister Gokul Baskota.

Thapa had been running talk show  'Sidha Prasna' (direct question) at the government owned Television for last 12 years, since the democracy was reinstated ousting the direct rule of the King through people's movement.

Journalist Raju Thapa shared with Freedom Forum’s Province-3 representative Ashok Dahal "News chief of the TV informed me on June 12 that they are unable to air my  talk further following the pressure from the minister over my questions to him during the live talk show on May 26,”.

According to the journalist, the television informed him that his talk show was shut following the instruction from the minister Baskota. He had the contract with the television for hosting weekly talk show until Mid July, which could be renewed for the next fiscal year.

"The minister dominated the staffs of the television upon his arrival for the talk show. He started misbehaving me from the very beginning of the interview, though I tried to ask the question from soft corner," explained representative Dahal quoting journalist Thapa.

According to the journalist, the minister was irked with him for questioning critical question in the state-run television under his own ministry. Various social media users have vented ire against the government and the minister for exhibiting autocratic tendency.

Thapa has posted on his Facebook page that the act of the minister has exposed the government approach of controlling media and journalist and freedom of the press in Nepal. He has also urged the concerned stakeholders to evaluate the incident similar to the autocratic move of the government.

Freedom Forum is concerned about the incident as it is the sheer violation of press freedom. Law maker’s intimidation to media person and the media house is intolerable.

 

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Television News Chief Attacked

Kailali based STS Television News Chief Mr. Lokendra Bista was attacked on March 8 by three unknown persons. Kailali lies in the far western region of Province 7 of Nepal.

According to Dev Raj Pant, Freedom Forum stringer for Province-7, Bista was attacked while he is returning home from TV Station at 12:45 AM in Bisalnagar.

“The attackers attacked Bista saying You are the person who work in Television, right?” said representative Panta quoting News Chief Bista.

Bista sustained injuries in his eyes, mouth, neck, chest and back. The attackers also looted some cash from Bista. They were riding motorbike, Bista informed to FF’s representative.

The local police informed that they have already started the investigation of the incident. We are facing problem to investigate the case as the number of motorbike and identity of persons involved in thrashing journalist is yet to be ascertained, the police told FF’s representative.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the attack against the media person and urges the concerned authority to investigate the incident and take the matter seriously.

 

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Student leaders threaten journalists to remove news from online portal

Student union leaders affiliated to the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have threatened the journalists of hamrakura.com online news portal to remove a news, critical against the union's chairperson.

According to the Executive Editor of the online, Madhav Chamlagain, seven persons including a central committee member of the All Nepal National Free Student's Union (ANNFSU) forcefully entered into the newsroom of the office at 7 pm in the evening and pressured him and other journalists to remove the news from the online.

As per the Province 3 representative for Freedom Forum Ashok Dahal, the group also resorted to hullabaloo terrorizing the few journalists working the newsroom until the evening. Asking journalists to remove the news immediately, the group has warned that they won't leave anyone until the critical against ANNFSU chief Nabina Lama is removed. "We had to go through mental torture and harassing words for 45 minutes. They left the newsroom only after we said that we didn't have technical access to remove the news," said Chamlagain.

Lawmaker turned student leader Lama also threatened Siwakoti via telephonic conversation to remove the published news or face the cyber crime case.

Also Shiwakoti shared, "After the incident journalist in my office are afraid to work and are feeling unsafe here."

The online had carried news about harassing message of Lama to an individual while asking about the student unions further plan against petroleum price hike by the government, which went viral on social media. The online had also published refutation sent by Lama after she denied the accusation.

Threatening journalists to remove news by entering the newsroom and through the telephone is the severe breach of press freedom. Anyone has the right to complain about the news content to the concerned agencies or refute it, but harassing and threatening the journalist even after publishing the refutation is condemnable. This kind of incident discourages the journalist to write the news independently and increase in self-censorship among the journalist.

FF demands probe and action against the accused and make necessary arrangement for the environment of free and fair journalism in the country.

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 manhandled, threatened

A group of stock traders and investors manhandled journalist Ms Sudha Devkota associated to merolagani.com, a stock market focused online portal in the capital city, on June 5 over areporting on stock market.

As per the information garnered by Freedom Forum’s Representative in Province No 3, Ashok Dahal, reporter Devkota had reached the Kamalpokhari based Creative Securities, a stock broker office, for news coverage about the protest of investors against the decision of the government to increase tax criteria on share trade in the recent annual budget.

The traders and investors verbally misbehaved with her- asking why she failed to raise their agendas of protest in the news story. “They vented ire against the merolagani.com for not writing in favor of them. Though she I defended that the reporting was based on facts, they encircled her and warned of forcing her to quit the job,” said Dahal, quoting reporter Devkota.

Following threat and misbehaviour, the journalist returned to the office without concluding the news reporting. Editor of merolagani.com, Rajendra Khanal, maintained that the media would not publish any news on anyone’s favor owing to such threat or lure.

Freedom Forum condemns the incidents and demands free and fair environment for the journalists for news coverage across the country. It is sheer violation of press freedom. FF urgesthe concerned ones to seek legal remedy in case of objection on the content. But threatening journalists for reporting is against press freedom.


Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Threat to journalists over Facebook, mistake admitted

Freedom Forum is concerned about series of threat issued to journalists over Facebook by a political cadre namely Prakash Bista at Lamki of Kailali district recently.

Bista made Facebook status showing dissatisfaction over the news published in a local newspaper which questioned the works of Mayor and government employees of Lamki Chuha Municipality.

After receiving the threat via Facebook, a group of journalists filed a complaint at Federation of Journalist (FNJ) Office. Consequently, the police took under control Bista and grilled him about the threat.

Later he was released after he admitted the mistake regarding the matter and reconciled in written and made apology too. He also agreed to respect press freedom and not to repeat such act in future.

Freedom Forum takes the realization of the mistake by Bista positively.

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Reporter attacked while taking pictures of bribing

Rajib Raya Kurmi, a reporter associated with NTV Mahottari was manhandled by police constable Rajendra Bahadur Basnet on 4 June in Mahottari district. Mahottari district lies in Province No 2.

As per Province 2 Representative for Freedom Forum, Rajan Singh, reporter Kurmi was manhandled while he was clicking the picture of another police officer Rakesh Raya, who is said to be taking bribe from a smuggler. Police officer Raya is alleged of taking bribe at Samshi Rural Municipality.

Constable Basnet who saw reporter taking pictures of his colleague caught reporter by the neck and asked him to delete the photo immediately. Later Basnet released the reporter after Kurmi showed his journalist identity card, claiming that taking pictures was his right.

Thereafter, Basnet again fumed against reporter Kurmi saying he was ready to bear any consequences.

Quoting reporter Kurmi, representative Singh said, "Reporter had reached near the border point to report on Police officers' alleged involvement in the smuggling at Samshi-Mahottari. Reaching on the site, he himself witnessed police officers in uniform were taking bribes from the smugglers and thus, clicked for the pictures."

"Unaware about the incident, Chief District Officer Baburam Shrestha has said that he will promptly investigate upon the case and will punish the police officer if found culprit", informed representative Singh.

Freedom Forum condemns the security personnel behaviour towards journalist which is sheer violation of press freedom. Investigating and bringing forth the social evils through media is the the duty of journalists however, such incidents show how journalists are risking their lives through their profession. Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority to investigate and take immediate action upon the case.


Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Female reporters misbehaved

Reporters duo Sreejana Nepal and Mandira Baniya were verbally abused by a City Police officer Kendra Gobinda Joshi on June 1 in Hetauda. Hetauda lies in province 3 of Nepal.

FF's representative from Hetauda, Mr Ramani Dahal, reported that the reporters duo were abused while reporting in the House of  Representatives. Reporter Nepal is affiliated to Radio Thaha Sanchar and Baniya is reporter to Hetauda Sandesh daily.

Talking to FF's media monitoring desk, reporter Nepal shared that officer Joshi had been abusing her verbally. One day he said, "How did you become journalist and what is your position?".  Few days before too, he had said, "Why don't you get married and leave this job?"

In this way, officer Joshi has been belittling us for 3 years demeaning about our profession.

However, the officer has apologized in front of the reporters after they complained about him in FNJ Makwanpur Chapter on June 2 but yet he hesitated to admit his mistake, informed reporter Nepal.

It is such perspective like that of police person that has been belittling female journalists and discouraging them in this profession. Among various reasons female face, such misbehaviour is also a significant factor harassing female journalists to entertain journalism.


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 attacked, injured for writing news on illegal crusher business

Freedom Forum is seriously concerned about the attack on journalist Dinesh Giri who sustained injury on his head for writing news against illegal crusher business in Belbari, Morang. Journalist Giri was attacked by unknown gang on 2nd June at 8.30 PM in his own house. He is associated to Betena FM and nirantarkhabar.com news portal. The incident occurred at Belbari, Morang. Morang district lies in Province No 1 of Nepal.

As reported by FF's representative for Province No 1, Bikram Niraula, journalist Giri was attacked by local gang of Jagen Gurung, Chitra Khadka and Bishal Thapa with knife and rod due to which Giri sustained injury on his head. He has been receiving treatment at Nobel Hospital, Biratnagar.

According to Giri, the attackers are associated with local crusher industry that is being operated illegally in the area. Journalist Giri had published news about the same in his online. Ram Kumar Rai, Inspector at Belbari Police Range informed that two perpetrators namely Chitra Khadka and Bishal Thapa were arrested and Jagen Gurung is being searched. Inspector Rai shared that the case was being investigated seriously and FIR has been filed against them under the murder attempt.

The incident is sheer violation of press freedom and journalist's right to report in the fear-free atmosphere. The attack was a life-threatening attempt. It shows that journalists doing investigative reporting are in more vulnerable situation in Nepal.

FF vehemently condemns the incident and strongly urges the concerned authority to investigate the case seriously and immediately take action against the attackers.

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Four journalists detained while taking videos of 'alleged gold smuggling' at airport

Four journalists were detained for five hours by the Tribhuvan International Airport authority from the airport on May 31 for shooting video of reportedly smuggling activities.

Police took TV Annapurna online television journalists Raj Kumar Bista, Raju Subedi, Bimal Khadka, and Sharmila Subedi for questioning and kept them in detention until they agreed to delete a video taken at exit of the airport.

According to journalist Raju Subedi and Bista, a police officer took them for questioning and threatened to jail if they didn't delete a video capturing his involvement in helping a woman reportedly involved in smuggling from the airport, to carry her bag.

"They seized our camera, mobile and all communication equipments and didn't allow to contact anywhere for five hours. We had to go through mental torture and threatening in detention," said Bista.

The journalists were reached to the airport for reporting with several cameras following a tip off about smuggled gold arriving at Kathmandu airport through Fly Dubai from United Arab Emirates. Kathmandu airport has been exposed as an area prone to gold smuggling after arrest of a smuggling racket and police officers for colluding to escape the smuggled gold from the security checking at the only international airport.

Journalist Bista claimed the police forcefully deleted the video fearing of his wrong doing would be made public. "They have also threatened us of grave consequences if we released the video through any means. We want investigation about the activities of the police and our security to the government and organizations working for journalists' rights," said journalist Subedi.

According to the journalists, the video was taken inside the airport premises after prior consent from the airport authority and police officer.

However, SSP Dev Bahadur Bogati of Nepal Police claimed that the journalists were never detained but token at the office of aviation department for questioning for shooting inside the airport without permission. "They had asked me for permission but I suggested them to take permission from aviation department but the department found them while taking video without the permission from the office," said SSP Bogati. The police also claimed that their mobile phones were not seized but asked not to record audio during the police questioning and the case settled after journalists agreed to delete the video taken without having permission.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the state agencies including the security officials at Tribhuvan International Airport for such intimidation, obstruction and hostility meted out to the journalists.

Investigative journalism is suppressed by the security officials, which is condemnable that it has flatly violated the press freedom. The torture meted out to journalists taking them under control is equally abhorring. The security agency must admit the violation of press freedom and help create respect to journalists.

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

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Customs Chief manhandles reporters

Reporter to the Sagarmatha Television Ganesh Saha and reporter to Annapurna Post daily Santosh Yadav were manhandled by Chief Customs Officer of Madar, Siraha  Mr. Rajendra Hamal, while inquiring about the monthly customs data on May 27. Siraha district lies in Province 2 of Nepal.

Province 2 Representative for Freedom Forum, Rajan Singh, reported that the incident occurred at the Customs Office where the reporters had gone to make news about the monthly customs details.

Reporter duo shared that while inquiring about the same with the Customs Officer he grossly replied "I have no time to answer your queries."  Reporter Yadav added, "He told us to take permission before we come for reporting and snatched reporter Saha's mobile phone  and broke it.  He even tried to delete the photos we had taken and  shoved us".

After the incident, the reporter duo informed the Law Minister of the Province Gyan Kumar Yadav and Chief District Officer Rudra Prasad Pandit about the manhandle.

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

Freedom Forum

Thapathali, Kathmandu

Post Box No: 24292

Phone No. 4102030, 4102022

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

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

   

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