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Journalist Binu Subedi bullied online for criticizing government actions

Journalist Binu Subedi of Kantipur National Daily has become a victim of cyberbullying for her critical reporting about the government and the ruling party. A group of individuals close to Nepal Communist Party's (NCP) chairperson and Prime Minister K P Oli has harassed and trolled her spreading illusions over her professional integrity in the recent weeks.

"Some individuals have been harassing me via illusionary and defamatory posts on micro-blogging site Twitter in the recent time," Subedi said. She reports on the political beat of the newspaper. After her series of reporting exposing the government's nexus with interest groups and plights of laborers stranded in the lockdown, various social media accounts started to attack her online.

Subedi said, "Our reporting sometimes questions the decisions and work of the government. When my reporting becomes critical to the ruling leaders and government, they directly and indirectly, discourage me to write critical news," Subedi told Freedom Forum.

 A twitter user Umesh Dulal aka Nirajan Sharma tweeted accusing Subedi of getting a job at Kantipur Daily upon the recommendation of former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Another user Asmita Thapa, accused Subedi of her critic reporting about the government was because Defense Minister refused to take her on the helicopter during his border inspection in Darchula. Various other twitter users have retweeted the tweets and other individuals close to NCP have tweeted the similar misinformation about her.

 "Sometimes they misinterpret my reporting and other times they spread illusion about my professional integrity. Although it has not obstructed my work however my motivation towards my work has lowered," she said. According to her most of the social media users trolling and bullying her are close and loyal to Prime Minister.

Government, political parties, and leaders are free to refute the media reporting if they don't agree on it. There is sufficient provision where they can place complaints at the Press Council to report journalist's wrongdoings. However, cyber harassment and bullying are misused as a tool to impose indirect self-censorship on the journalists. Female journalists are especially targeted with an intention to downgrade their social status by attacking them personally and showing flaws in their character. This action by the NCP political cadres not only overlooks the journalist's right to the profession but also a women's right to live with dignity.

Freedom Forum, thus, urges those concerned political cadres to be respectful of a journalist's and a women's right to live safely in society, be it an online or an offline platform.  Such action is intolerable and should be corrected immediately.

For more information,
Freedom Forum
monitoring@freedomforum.org.np