Freedom Forum is deeply concerned over death threats issued to Rana Bahadur BK, the district correspondent of Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) in Bajura– a Midwestern remote district of Nepal on December 4, 2010.
In a press statement on Saturday, Rana Bahadur said that United Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist (UCPN–Maoist)-affiliated employee at District Veterinary Office, Siddaraj Jaishi, threatened to kill him over the published news. Rana Bahadur, the district correspondent of RSS, carried the news story on police’s confiscation of two horses used by two senior Maoist leaders. The news report had revealed how local Maoist cadres were involved in wrongdoings, for which they were arrested by police and had to pay NRs 1,500 fine.
The statement issued by journalist BK further said the Maoists had forced him to write an excuse letter over the news story. However, journalist BK had been denying writing an excuse letter.
"I am not deviated from my professional norms and values," Journalist BK told Freedom Forum over the phone, "Since I have not made any mistake, why should I write an excuse letter?"
"What Maoists cadres in the district doing is apparently breach of rule of law and the norms of press freedom," he said, "I don’t give up my professionalism under threat and pressure."
Freedom Forum strongly condemns the incident and calls upon the government to bring the guilty to book at the earliest.
Since the constitution of Nepal has guaranteed freedom of reporting in public places, this kind of threat from Maoist cadres is against the notion of press freedom. Furthermore, Freedom Forum asks local cadres of UCPN–Maoist to take legal action if the news story in question is not accurate, instead of intimidating and threatening the journalist. Further, Freedom Forum urges the Maoist leadership to respect the journalists' right to freedom of reporting in public issues. Freedom Forum asks the government to provide security to the journalist so as to safeguard his professional commitment.