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Reporter taken under control for reporting on misuse of office vehicle

Reporter at News 24 television Khem Dhungana was taken under control for some hours while reporting on December 11 in Kailali. Kailali lies in the Sudurpaschim province of Nepal.

Reporter Dhungana was reporting on the misuse of vehicles owned by the Lamki Chuha Municipality by it Mayor Ms Sushila Shahi for construction of her own residence.

According to the reporter, he asked Mayor Shahi whether she had rented the vehicles but Shahi refused to talk to the reporter. Then, reporter Dhungana went to the construction site and took photos and videos of the site.

As he was taking videos of the construction site, Mayor Shahi reached there and started threatening him to delete the videos. Shahi's personal secretary seized the reporter's mobile and asked him to delete the videos.

Later, reporter Dhungana deleted a few footages in front of police officers. But, Mayor Shahi and her team took Dhungana under control and threatened him not to broadcast the news on television.

Reporter Dhungana was set free after three hours as he commited seemingly to not broadcast the news on television. The news was, however, broadcast on the television channel later.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident. Reporter has the right to report on the misuse of public properties. Threatening and taking an on-duty journalist under control is a gross violation of press freedom. Media is the fourth pillar of a State and the government authority is responsible for its safety. It is condemnable because the public person-Mayor- wanted to hush her criticism by threatening journalist. The public officials must respect the journalists' rights and value of information in society.

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