Rukum-based journalist Tika Bista was seriously injured in an attack by an unidentified group at Musikot in the mid-western part of Nepal on December 8, Tuesday. Bista is a news coordinator for a local Sisne FM in the district.
Bista was found unconscious with a severe head injury and cut wounds, apparently made by a razor blade, some 20 metres below a bush. Police recovered Bista’s laptop, radio and a mobile phone in wrecked state from the incident site. Police have suspected the assailants to have rolled Bista down the cliff after the attack
According to Bista’s colleague Dhanbir Dahal, she had called the latter saying three men were following her before the incident. “She sounded terrified. I tried to call her back, but her phone was switched off,” according to Dahal.
Bista was attacked at Mathgaun while she was on her way to the District hospital, as she had received a call from an unidentified male who said that her sister-in-law was admitted there.
Doctors attending to Bista at the District Hospital said her condition was critical, though she regained consciousness in the evening, about seven hours after the incident, according to The Kathmandu Post, a national daily.
Journalist Bista was airlifted to Nepalgunj for further treatment but she has not witnessed any significant improvement on her health condition according to reports. Efforts are being made to airlift her in Kathmandu since her situation is critical.
Last week, Bista had issued a press statement saying that some Maoist activists have been threatening to kill her over a news story published in a local weekly. She has been living in a disturbed situation after she was threatened with life for the coverage of news against UCPN (Maoist). She had also informed the police and district administration about the death threats she had been receiving from unknown place over mobile for the last seven days.
Terming this incident a 'brutal attack against decent journalism and journalist's responsibility to make people informed", Freedom Forum strongly condemns the attack on female journalist Bista for writing news and asks the government to seriously investigate into the incident and spell out the facts in this connection. The Forum also draws the attention of the party concerned to respect press freedom and allow journalists to impart information to people freely.
"Such attacks and threats to journalist promotes self-censorship which squeezes the scope of right to freedom of expression and access to information. The government's focused intervention is a must to avert impunity by bringing the guilty to book at the earliest", said Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal. He added, "The government should make necessary arrangement for her treatment and ensure environment that journalist could propel their profession without obstruction and threats".
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