Dan Singh Pariyar, Karnali Province parliamentarian threatened journalist Nagendra Upadhyay for reporting news about lockdown and its subsequent complication on April 5. Upadhyay is province bureau chief of Nagarik national daily.
According to Freedom Forum's representative from Karnali Province Laxmi Bhandari, lawmaker Pariyar threatened journalist Upadhyay for covering the news entitled 'two youths stuck in lockdown, desperate to get their destination'. In the news story published on Nagarik broadsheet daily, Upadhyaya had quoted the youth survivors as saying, "The parliamentarians whom they had voted to get elected did not lend them help at this time of crisis". The journo had also uploaded their videos on his Facebook post.
Lawmaker Pariyar wrote a threatening message to the journalist through messenger application of Facebook for bringing bad name to his repute, informed representative Bhandari. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal's government has enforced lockdown to minimize risks stemming from its possible transmission. In such emergency time too, journalists have the right to report on the issues of public concern.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident terming it a sheer violation of press freedom. Being a lawmaker, he should be held responsible for respecting role of the free press in such time of crisis. Threatening and harassing journalists who put their lives at risk to work for people's right to information during human crisis is of course a mockery of press freedom. Hence, FF urges the lawmaker to seek legal ways if he has any reservation on the news contents and help ensure safe working atmosphere for journalist during the critical time.
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