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Attack and Misbehaviour on Journalists

Freedom Forum has been concerned over the police atrocities, and misbehaviour towards journalists.

Media persons Chakra Pani Devkota, Sher Bahadur KC, Binod Poudel, Rajesh Acharya, Laxman Sapkota, Chet Kumar Bhattarai and Sridhar Subedi were attacked randomly by the police persons while they were reporting news on vandalism and arson at Nepalgunj, a mid-western city in the southern plain of Nepal on 23 April 2011.

According to an eye witness and journalist affiliated to the Himalayan Television, Chandra Khanal, the journalists wearing press jackets were making news about the vandalism, but attacked mercilessly by the police persons in course of taming a mob of locals who were demanding action against an abductor of a local child and trying to damage abductor's house. Among the injured journalists, Chakra Pani Devkota has been undergoing treatment at TU Teaching Hospital, in Kathmandu as he got severe head injuries.

Meanwhile, a reporter of the Rajdhani daily from Surkhet, Ramesh Shahi was held for half an hour by fighters of the UCPN-Maoists while he was making news about the clash occurred between the local youths and Maoist fighters at Mehalkuna of Surkhet, a mid-western hilly district of the country on April 24, 2011. The Maoist fighters also seized the camera and returned it deleting the photographs.

The Freedom Forum condemns both of the acts meted out against the journalists by the police and Maoist fighters. Freedom Forum concludes that both of these incidents are against press freedom, against journalists. Therefore, the Maoist, largest political party, is urged to instruct its fighters how to deal with journalists and police persons to stop atrocities against the journalists so as to respect people's right to information. Finally, Freedom Forum wishes the speedy recovery of journalist Devkota who is being treated in the hospital.