Mayor of Bidur Municipality, Nuwakot, Sanju Pandit embarrassed journalists while covering the municipal assembly of the local unit on June 24, 2020. Nuwakot lies in Bagmati Province of Nepal.
"Mayor pandit ordered the journalists to leave the municipality hall after the opposition party protested questioning irregularities amid the municipal assembly," Freedom Forum Province 3 representatives Ashok Dahal quoted a local journalist Shiva Devkota as saying.
As many as 15 journalists had reached to the municipality office for news coverage of the 7th municipal assembly upon the invitation of the municipality, according to Devkota.
Dahal further stated that according to journalists attending the municipal assembly, mayor's attempt to expel the journalist from meeting hall was aimed at barring the journalists from reporting the questions raised against him over various irregularities.
Despite the order from mayor Pandit, journalists declined to leave the meeting hall stating that it was their constitutional right to report the public meeting.
"It was our right to report and write about the discussions and decisions held by the public bodies. We also protested the mayor's order to leave the meeting hall and continued our work," Devkota said.
Freedom Forum condemns state authority's intimidation towards journalists. Journalists have every right to report on public issues nevertheless, inviting to the program and barring those from reporting is a shameful act. Hence, FF urges the concerned authority to respect free reporting right of journalists and ensure safe reporting atmosphere.
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