Publisher and editor of Nabasangram daily Dineshwor Gupta was attacked while reporting on August 28. The incident took place in Siraha, a district in Madhesh Province.
According to journalist Gupta, he and other journalists were reporting on a clash among local people and Nawarajpur rural municipality officers on the day of incident. During protest on the ownership of a public pond, journalists were taking photos and videos of agitated locals trying to set on fire a municipality's tractor. Meanwhile, a group of 12-15 youths attacked journalists warning to not take photos.
"Other journalists escaped the attack whereas, two of us (me and Jaynath Yadav of Today Khoj daily) were injured from the attack. I have injuries on neck, head and back", shared journalist Gupta.
Thereafter, journalist Gupta informed Superintendent of Police Tekunanda Limbu about the incident and asked him to get his mobile back. But according to Gupta, police was unable to arrest them.
On the next day (August 29), fellow journalists also met with SP Limbu and requested to immediately arrest the attackers. SP Limbu then suggested the journalists to file a First Information Report to initiate the investigation.
"Soon after filing FIR at the local police office, police arrested one of the attackers on August 30 who was however, released immediately. Again after continuous pressure from journalists, police have arrested another person involved in the attack on August 31", said Gupta.
Freedom Forum's media monitoring desk was able to talk to journalist Gupta through Federation of Nepali Journalists Siraha chapter's president Manoj Banaita's phone. FF's monitoring desk also called District Police Office but they showed their unawareness about the incident.
"We are prodding the security authority to arrest remaining attackers as well. This is the matter of journalists' safety. We will not step back", argued President Banaita.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident. Attacking and seizing communication device of a journalist is a gross violation of press freedom. The security authority is strongly urged to address the case seriously and facilitate journalist to get his mobile phone back. The authority should also ensure safety of journalists to avoid any untoward incident.
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