Freedom Forum has recently learnt that two journalists working in the daily newspapers in Morang-, eastern district of Nepal have been displaced from the workplace due to death threat labeled on them solely because of their independent journalism practice.
A correspondent of the Aujar daily, Arjun Jamneli Rai and another one of the Janabidroha daily, Bibek Bhattarai have been displaced from the workplaces. They received the death threats over telephone that both would be killed within some days.
The journalists were accused of obstructing the illegal extraction of stones from the Sunjora River in the district.
The news report of the illegal extraction of stone from the river was published in the Aujar daily and the Janabidroha daily a week ago. Then, the journalists were brought to Biratnagar, District Headquarters of Morang, and provided security.
In addition to the death threat against journalists, some youths obstructed distribution of Aujar daily on 6 February 2011- a week after the publication of the news related to the stone extraction. Following an order of a local leader of the CPN UML, Kishor Rai, the party leading new government in Nepal, people including Sajan Dhimal obstructed the distribution of the newspaper. Ally of UML leader Rai seized the bundles of newspaper ready for distribution. After the rights activists and civil society members exerted pressure on the authority regarding the seizure, police in Morang took the newspapers back and handed over to the Aujar daily.
Freedom Forum condemns such a serious incident of the violation of press freedom. Forum takes the involvement of the cadres of a political party leading the present government in such activity more seriously.
Moreover, the organization requests all to cooperate in creating a press freedom friendly environment. We also call upon the government to immediately take legal action against those involved in such act of press freedom violation.