Monday, February 20, 2017
   
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Press Freedom News

Political cadres manhandle reporter Poudel

Ashok Paudel, a reporter with the Radio Banganga, from Rupandehi, a city in the southern plains of Nepal in its western part, was manhandled by protestors on 21 December.

The protestors manhandled reporter Poudel while he was going to attend a program nearby Kapilvastu district. But reasoning the agitation called by the a youth wing- Youth Association- of major opposition party, CPN-UML, the Association cadres grilled reporter whey he was driving during protest.

Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Poudel said, "The local cadres of the Association and even a local businessperson Shankar Khanal kicked me while riding motorcycle. I displayed my Press Card; however, the rowdy demonstrators seized my motorcycle's keys, manhandled me, and spoke foul on me."

He added that he, however, escaped the injury.

The Association cadres were protesting against government's efforts to pass constitution amendment bill.

Freedom Forum condemns the hostility of political cadres towards journalist and urges the political parties to instruct their cadres to respect journalists' right to free and fearless reporting. Although any side has the right to peaceful protest to voice their demands, violating press freedom is against democratic values.

   

Police persons continue hostility to journalists

Correspondent with Image Television channel and setopati.com, Anil Tiwari, was attacked by police persons while reporting a protest against Parsa District Court's verdict on 1 December.

Talking to Freedom Forum, Nagarik daily reporter, Ritesh Tripathi, who was with Anil during the reporting explained: Inspector AK Mahato of Area Police Office, Shreepur, approached Tiwari and asked him to stop visualizing the use of force by the police to suppress protesting group in front of Parsa District Court.

But, reporter Tiwari refused and continued taking video with his mobile. Thereafter, Inspector attacked Tiwari with fist and broke the mobile into pieces. However, Tiwari managed to escape injury.

Meanwhile, in another incident of press freedom violation by the security persons, reporters duo Arun Yadav for the National News Agency (RSS) from Saptari and Chandan Yadav of the Madheshbani weekly were manhandled by Police persons in Rajbiraj, Saptari on 26 November.

They were manhandled while reporting about sage Ramdev's visit at Chhinnamasta Temple in Saptari district.

On telephone conversation with Freedom Forum, reporter Arun Yadav said: "We two along with other half dozen of journalists were manhandled by Superintendent of Police Dibesh Lohani and his subordinate staffs while reporting on Baba Ramdev's visit to Chhinnamansta Temple and his prayers."

"Interestingly, SP Lohani allowed Indian reporters into the temple premises whereas forcefully restricted us. He even spoke foul on journalists and tried to seize cameras," added Arun, saying, they complained at Office of the Chief District Officer, Saptari, about SP Lohani's misbehavior.

Such continuous hostility of security personnel towards journalists depicts how miserable the atmosphere for press freedom is. Freedom Forum condemns the incidents and appeals to security persons to realize their mistakes and be aware of the importance of free media for a democratic society.

Controlling media not only ruins journalists' right to reporting but also bars people from information, and freedom of expression.

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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Reporter Yadav attacked

Mithilesh Yadav, reporter with the Nagarik daily from Lahan, a town in the southern plain, was attacked on 21 November while reporting about the exorbitant fee at Lila Madan Polyclinic and Maternity Home Pvt. Ltd. His mobile (Iphone 5S) was also broken in the attack.

Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Yadav said, "On Monday evening, I reached at Lila Madan Polyclinic to acquire information over a patient's complaint of exorbitant medical fee, showing the hospital bill from a patient. The patient was complaining of 'too much fee for simple treatment'.

"As I inquired Manoj Sah and his brother Dr. Dilip Kumar of the hospital management committee why the treatment fee was so high for minor treatment, a staff named Dhananjaya Yadav appeared all of a sudden and started talking foul on me and kicked me. My mobile was also broken as he attacked me. The patient's relatives rescued me from further injury," reporter Yadav said to FF.

Later reporter Yadav verbally informed Deputy Superintendent of Police, Raj Kumar KC of Area Police Office, Lahan about the attack. In response, DSP KC assured the reporter of investigation on the incident.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the attack on reporter who was reporting on administrative irregularity of the hospital. FF also urges Nepal Police to seriously investigate the case and bring the assailant to book. Fear-free atmosphere is essential for journalists to boost press freedom and eliminate self-censorship.

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https://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gifFreedom Forum
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Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
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Police take reporter under control

Reporter with a local Manaskhanda daily, Dinesh Singh Mahara, was taken under control for two hours by the police when he had reached the District Police Office (DPO) for news reporting on 7 November 2016. DPO, Kanchanpur, took him under control. Kanchanpur is the far western district in the southern plain of the country.

Talking to Freedom Forum, Editor of the Manashkhanda daily, Khem Bhandari said, "Reporter Mahara was taken under control by an inspector as he reached the DPO for news collection. The reason behind his control was that he had been reporting on the misdeeds of the police persons."
However, police person taking Mahara under control was accusing reporter of recording people's conversations on the DPO premises.

On the other hand, reporter Mahara argued that he was operating mobile phone for personal purpose not for recording the activities around the DPO.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident and strongly urges the concerned District Police Office to respect journalist's right to free reporting. Such hostile treatment of security is detrimental to press freedom.

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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Death threat on reporter Thapa

Reporter with the Kantipur daily from Nuwakot, Krishna Thapa, received a death threat over the publication of news against Tara Bahadur Karki, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nuwakot on 24 October. Nuwakot is a hilly district adjoining the capital city.


The news published in Kantipur daily on 22 October was about the sale of inedible beaten rice from a food store owned by Tara Bahadur Karki. Local administration found the beaten rice unhygienic during the market monitoring.


Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Thapa said, "It was last Sunday, Tara Bahadur called me over telephone and threatened of life reasoning the publication of news on the sale of unhygienic food from his store."


Freedom Forum condemns the intimidation, for it is a gross violation of press freedom. This has not only panicked the reporter but also contributed to self censorship, jeopardizing the fear-free atmosphere for reporting. The entrepreneurs need to be aware of journalists' rights, and security aware of possible risk/attack on reporter Thapa.

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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Death threat to editors, senior reporter at Rajdhani daily

Senior reporter with the Rajdhani daily, Tapendra Karki, editors duo Rajan Sharma and Ganesh Basnet were issued death threat over the publication of news on suspended Chief of anti-graft body, Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Lokman Singh Karki, on 23 October. The Rajdhani daily is published from the capital city Kathmandu.

Talking to Freedom Forum, senior reporter Karki said, "In the evening around  6:45 pm, a person called on Rajdhani daily's office landline number from Okhaldhunga, a remote hilly district, and threatened me not to write the news on Lokman Singh Karki anymore or else my life would be risked."

He further said the person had called from some extension number, so, they could not trace the number. The person threatening over phone claimed himself being the suspended CIAA Chief Karki. Though he did not disclose his full name, he had spoken foul on me and my colleagues.

According to him, the threat call was received simultaneously by two other persons- editors Sharma and Basnet.
CIAA Chief Karki was recently been suspended upon the impeachment motion filed at the Legislature-Parliament questioning his official conducts, and contempt of court.

The incident occurred in the capital city shows the journalists writing about misconduct and irregularities of big people are always targeted irrespective of place (city/mofussil) they carry out the profession. Moreover, the threat in the name of suspended chief of a constitutional body is more shameful that tells the authority is hostile to free press. It has badly instilled self-censorship among the journalists.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the incident as it has violated press freedom and journalists' right to report in the free atmosphere.  The concerned authority needs to immediately recognize the culprit and bring him to book.

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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Photojournalists attacked in Kathmandu

The taxi drivers and entrepreneurs attacked two photojournalists while reporting on their strike in the capital city Kathmandu on 27 September.

Saroj Baiju affiliated to the Annapurna Post daily and Chhiring Lama with the Commander daily were attacked by the agitated taxi drivers, saying, "Why are you writing and photographing us?"

Talking to Media Monitoring Desk of Freedom Forum, photographer Baiju said the agitated taxi drivers and entrepreneurs pelted stones on their cameras.

"We had to take shelter in the nearby house to escape the injury," Baiju said, adding that the stones they pelted broke his camera lenses.

The journalists are always the target of the agitating people and groups.

Freedom Forum condemns the attack on the photographers, as it violated the press freedom, their right to free reporting. While protesting, it must be peaceful and other's rights should not be tampered.


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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Local authority bulldozes FM Radio building, disrupts operation, destroys equipment

Freedom Forum has been alarmed over the destruction of the building of Radio Dhading (106 MHZ) of Dhading, a neighbouring district to the capital city, Kathmandu, by the local administration early today (September 23).
Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, Station Manager of the FM, Rajaram Sharma, said, "A team mobilized by the district authority reached the FM station at 4:00 am, forced the employees out of the office and bulldozed the building. It not only destroyed the equipment but also halted radio service completely. The loss of some Rs 10 million was caused by this attack."

Station Manager Sharma also claimed that the employees in the office building were also manhandled while forcing them out of the office. It was early morning, some employees were sleeping.

The FM Radio had shifted its office to a nearby local Amarawati Community Forest after its building was collapsed during the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015.

Earlier too, the District Forest Office had tried to bulldoze the office reasoning it was in the community forest, and was forcing the FM management to remove the office. Even a case was filed at Supreme Court demanding the relocation of the FM station. But, the Court had sought the reason with the District Forest Office behind the demand of relocation of FM building, reasoning the State itself is the protector of the community media. The case was under consideration.

But, to a gross violation of freedom of expression, signaling the attack during that of conflict period, the attack by the local authority on the FM station is quite sickening and condemnable. It debunks how atrocious the government is towards media. It has undervalued the importance of news and citizen's right to information as well.

Instead of adopting a peaceful and lawful measure to solve problem, the one-sided attack on the media house is vehemently condemned by Freedom Forum. The government must speak clearly on it, making aware the local authority to respect freedom of expression and media rights. Atmosphere must be created conducive for the quick resumption of FM radio.

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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Political leader and DDC staff attack reporter over news story

Reporter with News 24 TV, onlinekhabar news portal and Arthik Abhiyan daily, Raj Kamal Singh, from Dhanusha district was attacked over a news story he published in the Arthik Abhiyan daily on Tuesday.

The reporter was attacked on September 14 over the news story that was about the misuse of budget in the District Development Committee (DDC) and Constituency Development Fund.

A group of some seven persons led by Nawin Gohiwar, President of Dhanusha Constituency-1 of Nepali Congress party attacked reporter Singh reasoning the news earned disrepute to Gohiwar's political image.

Reporter Singh said to Media Monitoring Desk of Freedom Forum, "Early in the morning while I was in a teashop at local Bhanuchowk of Janakpurdham, I received a call from Nawin Gohiwar, asking to meet him to talk on some issues. But, within a minute of phone talk, a group of seven people including Nawin Gohiwar, and some staffs from DDC attacked me and attempted to abduct. Their intention was to abduct and release with torture. They attacked me with fists. I got serious injury on back of my head and had to take medicine."

Attackers arrested
After a while, the district police arrested the attackers- Nawin Gohiwar, Rajdevi Gohiwar, Pushpendra Goit, Sanjiv Kumar Mandal and Santosh Yadav.

The incident denudes how hostile and harsh the political leaders and bureaucracy are towards the media. They are so secretive that they always hide information from public and from media persons. Their attack on media person is quite condemnable.

Freedom Forum therefore strongly condemns the incident as it has violated press freedom and panicked reporter exposing administrative and financial irregularities. The political leaders and cadres must improved their behavior and change their perspective towards media. Meanwhile, the immediate arrest by the police is laudable. The attackers must be taken stringent action in a bid to reduce impunity relating to press freedom. 

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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Serious concern over Press Council’s plan to conduct license exam for journalists

Freedom Forum has been seriously concerned over Press Council Nepal’s plan to conduct license exams for the journalists.
It is quite ridiculous to make one appear exam by the Press Council, a State body, to be journalists, because the qualification tests of journalists can be conducted by the concerned media houses. It’s the media house’s right to determine what sort of human resources is required for it.

As the Council is the State-run body, it is highly likely that only those favouring government can be journalists which is fully against the freedom of expression principles and practices.

Journalism is related to creativity and expression. Setting standard for anyone to enter this field is quite undemocratic effort.

Of course, the quality journalism is the need of hour. But taking exam for journalists does not ensure quality but restricts many to be journalists and flatly violates citizen’s freedom of expression.

“Instead of holding exams, trainings and orientations to journalists can be encouraged to boost quality and professionalism. Therefore, restricting people’s entry to journalism does not suit democratic principle but serve authoritarian mindset,” observes Taranath Dahal, Chairperson, Freedom Forum.

There is already a bad practice that accreditation card to journalists is issued by the Department of Information run by the State.

Similarly, before eight years, the Supreme Court had issued an order to see the rights of journalists by establishing separate office of press registratar, which however is not implemented yet by the government.

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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