Yet again, Freedom Forum's attention has been drawn seriously towards an incident occurred at Sankhuwasabha, a district in the eastern hilly region of Nepal on the night of August 11, 2011.
Sankhuwasabha-based reporter to the Annapurna Post and The Himalayan Times, Kishor Budhathoki, was attacked with sharp weapons by Bikas Rai of Khandbari (district headquarters) and his accomplice Rupak Rai at around 9 pm on August 11 leaving him seriously injured.
Budhathoki got bruises all over his body and his arm dislocated. He has been undergoing treatment at Biratnagar-based Nobel Medical College.
It has been learnt that Rai assaulted Budhathoki over a news report aired on Khandbari FM, which was based on Budhathoki's comments on violence against women about a month ago. Budhathoki's statement also had the reference of disputes between Bikas and his wife.
According to police, the prime assaulter Bikas is a 'professional criminal' who had served jail terms several times in the past.
Meanwhile, the journalists in the district has been agitated and have filed a first information report against Bikas Rai and Rupak Rai for beating up journalist Budhathoki to within an inch of his life.
Not only journalists but also the rights defenders and political parties have expressed grave concern over the incident.
The incident shows how miserable the condition of journalists, and of media freedom and weak security in Nepal.
Freedom Forum as an organization working for the right to information, media freedom, human rights and democracy, condemns the incident. The organization strongly urges the government and the authorities concerned to immediately nab the absconding attackers and punish rigorously as per the law thereby to curb the growing impunity. Moreover, government is urged to provide proper treatment to the journalist Budhathoki. The government needs to improve security to the journalists in order to carry out their duties in a free and fair atmosphere so that people's right to information is protected and promoted.
Finally, Freedom Forum wishes speedy recovery of the journalist Budhathoki.