Freedom Forum is alarmed at the incident of misbehavior meted out against journalists in Lalitpur district adjacent to the capital city Kathmandu on 14 January 2011. Journalists were misbehaved at a program organized to resolve the conflict in connection with Nakhhu Corridor constructed to export garbles form stone mines of Lalitpur.
Reporters from different media had reached there to participate in the press conference organized by the task force of political parties regarding the issue. Some persons invited by political parties had intimidated journalists asking local leaders to let them know the journalists who had covered news regarding stone mines. The hooligans said that they wanted to carry journalists on tipper and move them around the street, according to the Kantipur National Daily.
Journalists boycotted the press conference after they were misbehaved with and approached the District Administration Office (DAO) for security. Soon after journalists reached the administration office, coordinator of the task force, Madhu Chalise, threatened journalists saying the coming days would be tougher for journalists to cover news in Lalitpur. But he did not say what action he will take against journalists.
It has been reported that almost all stone mines are being illegally run in Lalitpur and the Nepal Police and DAO Lalitpur are investigating into the unlawful operation of mines. It is also made public that the stone mines have become the source of income of political parties and their cadres in Lalitpur so that it is being continued on the political backing.
Dubbing the incident a deliberate act to gag press for exposing wrongdoings, Freedom Forum condemns the incident and appeals to the government and political parties to demonstrate concrete action to prevent such activities. ‘It is shameful on the part of political parties to engage their cadres in flexing muscles against media freedom. The incident is the straight violation of journalist’s significant role of watchdog’, said Freedom Forum Chairperson Taranath Dahal.
Freedom Forum requests all to create environment for free reporting so that journalists do not feel fear and terror to pick any issues of public concern.