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Police intimidate journalist Shrestha

Umesh Shrestha, a journalist and noted blogger running www.mysansar.com was harassed by the Nepal Police for his blog on February 23. The incident occurred in the federal capital of Nepal, Kathmandu.

According to the blog Shrestha published the same day, he was summoned to the cyber bureau of Nepal Police, to discuss some issues. "After reaching the bureau office, one of the officers threatened me for writing a blog. He shouted: Who gave you the authority to write such a blog? Why did not you register your blog, and so on?" he writes on his blog published after the incident. 

Even though, he tried to persuade the officers stating that it was his right guaranteed by the constitution, they did not listen to him but threatened of detention. 

Shrestha is also an editor at Nepal Fact Check and had published a blog about news published on several online media regarding the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact on February 21 which he stated were misleading and fake, thereby discrediting Nepali media and journalism. 

According to Shrestha, police called him for this blog on the website spreading misinformation. Few hours later, a fellow officer came and said that there was misunderstanding between the police officer and editor Shrestha. Still,  they suggested that he registered the blog. 

Freedom Forum condemns the incident as it is sheer violation of citizen's right to free expression. Fact checking news and publishing the reports on his blog is in no way a crime as per Nepal's constitution. The public/police officers must be aware about the role of free media in a demcoratic society and stop harassing journalists for reporting.

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