Freedom Forum-Nepal is concerned over the series of anti-press incidents one after another even since the beginning of new year-2011, however the year 2010 was tough for journalists in Nepal with the spate of murders, attacks, threats and other press gagging activities from different quarters of life.
Soon after a journalist was threatened and subsequently displaced due to the effect of his work in Saptari on January 1, media workers in Sarlahi - a mid Terai district of Nepal - had to come across an incident of manhandle on January 2. A group of miscreants stopped and thrashed, Chairperson of Federation of Nepali Journalists, Siraha Chapter Krishna Esmali and Chairperson of Community Radio, Sarlahi Chudamani Wagle asking the reason to go to the police station while they were on the way back to office after covering news.
Journalist duo, Esmali and Wagle, were stopped when they were returning after reporting the incident of clash ensued between the police and sugarcane farmers when police removed the barricades put up by the agitating farmers in the road to halt the vehicular movement, according to Kantipur national Daily. 'We had visited Harion Area Police Station to cover the news of losses incurred during the brawl', said journalist Esmali, adding that a group of people, all of a sudden, blocked our way and started beating up.'. Another victim journalist Wagle said, 'I think there is no hand of farmers behind this incident. It seems some other might have taken advantage of crowd and assaulted us'.
Sugarcane producers had announced highway disruption for January 2 demanding non reduction of minimum price of sugarcane from that of the last year.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident and requests one and all to help ensure press freedom friendly environment allowing journalists their right to free reporting the issues of public importance and interests. The Forum also calls on the authority concerned to take immediate action to those involved in such unruly activities.