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Journalists Misbehaved, Attacked, Threatened

Freedom Forum expresses concerns over the continued incidents of press freedom violations across the country.

Freedom Forum attention has been drawn towards an incident that the teachers of Children Day Care School at Itahari-1of Sunsari, a district in the southern east of the country misbehaved and attacked journalists on April 18, 2011.

Manoj Bhujel, reporter of News 24 Television and Deepak Karki, cameraperson of Avenues Television were misbehaved by assistant principal of the School Meena Sherpa and teacher Ashwin Khanal while the journalists were making news about the complaints of School children's parents about the excessive fee. A large number of parents thronged the School premises against the exorbitant fee.

Principal Maya Sherpa, Assistant Principal Meena and teacher Khanal abused the journalists verbally using foul language. They also attacked the journalists with sandals.

According to FNJ Vice-Chairman in Sunsari, Santosh Yadav the School has increased the fee by more than 100 percent which is against the rule.

Similarly, Freedom Forum's attention has been drawn towards the death threats issued to the journalists in Mugu, a distant hilly district in the mid-western region of the country for some days.

A media person Bimal Hamal said the journalists have been threatened of lives and attack by the political parties and other unknown persons reasoning that the journalists reported about the growing corruption and irregularities in the district and published in the local newspaper, the Mugu Post, and the national newspapers as well.

According to photo journalist in a local paper, Kavi Raj Karki, an unknown person tried to attack three journalists and threatened them of breaking their hands recently in the district.

Moreover, journalists associated with the Radio Dhading at Dhading, a neighbouring district of the Capital have resigned en masse citing the interference of the management.

News Chief Sanu Babu Timilsina, Keshav Adhikari of the news desk, senior technician Bhuwan Poudel, news reader Gayatri Khatiwada and programme presenter Shyam Shital and others resigned together because the management failed to meet the criteria set by minimum remuneration fixation committee and made unnecessary interference thereby leaving journalists in meager facilities, according to Keshav Adhikari.

Freedom Forum expresses grave concern over the above mentioned incidents occurred in various parts of the country. The Day Care School's attempt to hide information and misbehaviour and attack to the journalists, growing insecurity to the journalists in Mugu, and interference of management with little facilities to the journalists in Dhading are deplorable acts, in deed. Therefore, the Freedom Forum strongly urges the local administration of Mugu to provide ample security to the journalists, local administration of Sunsari to book the wrongdoing teachers in Sunsari and the FM management of Dhading to give up interference and create conducive atmosphere for the journalists to practice free and fair journalism respecting their professional rights.