The spate of the arrest of journalists in the recent days in Province- 2 has panicked fellow journalists, said Freedom Forum's representative from Province 2, Rajan Singh. Dozens of journalists from Bara and Parsa districts were arrested for allegedly 'spreading misinformation and disturbing social harmony.'
Representative Singh reported that on April 22, Nehal Khan from Nepal Television, Mohammad Saddham and Abide Hussain from Sagarmath TV were arrested from Parsa and detained for four days for sharing a video against Parsa police's torture on social media.
He further informed that they were not charged of any crime, however. Talking to Singh, Parsa Police Superintendant Ganga Panta however said that they were detained just for enquiry.
Similarly, on May 10, police arrested Narayani FM's correspondent Tiwari Yadav while airing a program and took under control for 1.5 hours in police van in Parsa.
Again on May 27, Parsa's Chief District Officer Loknath Poudel verbally abused Public FM's correspondent Pranaya Sah. Sah had reached the office to report on squalit toilets.
In a separate incident, a camera person at News 24 television Zakir Hussain was brutally attacked by a group of three to four police persons in Birgunj on March 26. He was reporting on the ongoing lockdown in the municipality.
Though Hussain revealed his identity as a journalist, they not only beat him but also took him to the police station. Later, Police Inspector Deepak Sah released him assuring him of punishing the attackers.
Freedom Forum condemns the incidents as they severely breach rights to press freedom and freedom of expression. Although journalists were released later, they were harassed much to suppress the wrongdoing of security persons. Journalists' right to free reporting must not be violated. The growing harassment and torture to media by the security persons indicates increased hostility to media and free expression. FF therefore urges the authority concerned to take stock of the sitution and remind police persons of their highhandness.
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