Sunsari based reporter to Nepal Television Santosh Yadav was barred from reporting at Itahari Sub-Metropolitan office on November 10. The metropolitan office lies in Koshi Province of Nepal.
Reporter Yadav shared with Freedom Forum that he reached the office to report on the scheduled executive meeting as informed by the ward chairpersons and members. The meeting was scheduled to make important decisions on tax provisions in the municipality.
“As I reached the office, I saw fellow journalists from other media already seated in the meeting hall. Meanwhile, sub-metropolitan Mayor Hem Karma Poudel went out of the hall and called me. He said that I was not allowed to sit in the meeting and they will broadcast live during the meeting”, said reporter Yadav.
Reporter Yadav added, “On my question about the presence of journalists from other media, Mayor Poudel said that the metropolitan office had agreement with those for reporting so they were allowed to sit in the meeting.”
According to Yadav, this move of the Mayor was intentional to obstruct him from reporting as he had been reporting on the irregularities and malpractices in the sub-metropolitan city.
Freedom Forum is concerned over the incident. Obstructing journalist from reporting on the issues of public concern is a gross violation of press freedom and citizen’s right to information. The sub-metropolitan office being a responsible local authority in the province should respect all media and journalists’ equally.
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