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Reporters taken under control by cooperative chair 

Reporters to Bagmati Television Gaurav Adhikari and Suman Niraula received death threat while reporting in Lamjung on August 15. Lamjung lies in Gandaki Province of Nepal. Bagmati Television is broadcasted from Kathmandu, Bagmati Province.

Chief Executive Officer of television Manoj Neupane shared with Freedom Forum that reporters duo had gone to report on the alleged irregularities in a local cooperative office in Lamjung. As the television team reached the office, they requested the Chairman of the cooperative Ramji Kandel for his views on the allegation.

Chairman Kandel invited the reporters at a nearby local hotel to discuss the issues at around 5:00 pm. As soon as the reporters reached inside hotel to talk to the chairman, Chairman Kandel threatened to kill the reporters and seized reporters' identity cards, mobile phones, camera, boom and other belongings and then he also took the reporters under control for at least four hours.

"One of the reporters was however able to find his mobile and called me after four hours. Then, I informed the police chief at District Police Office, Lamjung and asked for help. Thereafter, police officers rescued the reporters and took them to the local police station. The Chairman and his supporters again reached the police station to protest. However, police persons safely rescued both the reporters at 11:30 pm. In the incident, reporters were safe but camera was slightly damaged", said CEO Neupane. 

Our team registered a complaint at the District Administration Office, Lamjung on August 16. Chief District Officer wrote a letter to the DPO for prompt action on the case. In response to this, police office invited both side to discuss the incident. In the discussion, Chairman apologized for his action and confirmed that such incident will not be repeated in future", added CEO Neupane.

According to CEO Neupane, both sides had signed an agreement with their written commitment to cooperate with the journalists in future.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident. Though the Chairman apologized in front of the reporters, his action towards the reporters despite knowing their identity is a gross violation of press freedom. Reporting public concern is journalists’ duty, but intimidation to them is worrying trend. 

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