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Journalists Intimidated for News Coverage

Freedom Forum is deeply concerned over threat issued against journalist Dhaniram Sharma, a local correspondent for ABC Television Channel in Rolpa- the remote mountainous district of Nepal on January 6.

An unknown person issued threat to journalist Sharma over phone saying he will break down the latter’s news writing finger. ‘A mobile number (9728251753) was used to threaten me’, said Sharma., adding he did not know which news caused the caller to intimidate him for news coverage.

Journalist Sharma appealed to the District Administration Office and District Police Office of Rolpa to lodge complaint regarding the threat given to her due to his news writing. Police have yet to identify the person involving in the incident.

In yet another anti-press incident at Pharping Village Development Committee (VDC) of Kathmandu district, cadres associated to the ruling party CPN (UML) issued threat to journalist Padma Shrestha, a reporter for Nepal Samacharpatra National Daily on January 11.

VDC Unit Chairperson Ramakrishna Maharjan threatened journalist Shreatha for exposing information on misappropriation of fund granted by different donor agencies for strengthening capacity of Manmohan Memorial Community Hospital.

According to journalist Shrestha, Maharjan didn't disclose a type of action he was going to take but he said that he will convert the National daily into ash as it published the news of financial mismanagement.

''The hospital was established in support of local people and donor agencies for providing health services to one and all but CPN-UML cadres have compelled people to acquire party membership for receiving services form the hospital'' said journalist Shrestha. A case has been filed at the District Court regarding the mismanagement of fund.

Freedom Forum condemns the incidents of intimidation issued to journalist meant to prevent journalists from exposing information. The activities are largely against the freedom of expression of journalists, who are responsible to promote people’s right to be informed. The Forum asks the local administration to investigate into the incidents and bring the guilty parties to book to discourage press freedom perpetrators. The Forum requests to adopt legal remedy if the news and views disseminated is unsatisfactory.