With the caretaker government and the political parties wrangling for the power in the country, the media has been facing hard time in Nepal. The threats and attacks from the responsible political party cadres have been common these days. As a result, the journalists are bound to work in a panicky situation.
Chairman of the Youth Association of Nepal (YAN), a sister organization of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Mahesh Basinet has been repeatedly threatening in public a daily newspaper and its editor.
On August 21 in Pokhara, a hilly city in the western part of the country, YAN Chairman Basinet reiterated his threat to shut down the Nagarik national daily and throw its Chief Editor Narayan Wagle behind the bars for reporting him and his organization.
Earlier, on August 13 in Biratnagar, a city in the southern plain in the east of the country, he said, "The day a new constitution is drafted in our favour, we will close down the Nagarik daily and send its editor Wagle to jail."
He said this at a gathering organized by YAN in Biratnagar to mount pressure on the administration and police to drop the charges against Parshuram Basnet, the mastermind of the June 5 attack on journalist Khilanath Dhakal, reporter to the Nagarik and its sister publication the Republica.
In Pokhara, he said, “What I spoke about Nagarik and its editor Wagle in Biratnagar is true. We are in the battlefield with Nagarik after it declared a war on us,”
YAN Chairman Mahesh Basnet has been publicly and repeatedly admitting that he has protected Youth Force Morang District President Parshuram Basnet who masterminded the June 5 attack on journalist Dhakal.
As the political situation is fluid, the cadres of the political have emerged rowdy and riotous thereby making attacks and threats on journalists who write about their misdeeds and wrongdoings.
To everyone’s worry and concern, the mastermind of the June-5 attack, Parshuram Basnet, has been given political protection. It is crystal clear that Parshuram being the leader of the Youth Forces, has been protected by the ruling CPN-UML as the Youth Force is its sister organization.
Not only media persons but also the civil society and rights defenders have shown grave concerns to such threats and attack on media and journalists but in vain.
Before the political protection, the police administration too has been helpless. It has helped rise impunity in the country.
Thus, the prospect of media freedom in the country is so bleak that unless the political culture and the scenario are improved, there are undoubtedly more gloomy days in store.
Freedom Forum, as an organization working for the right to information, press freedom, human rights and democracy, vehemently abhors and condemns the repeated threats to media house and the editor. It strongly urges the State authorities concerned to nab the guilty ones and take action as per the existing laws in order for the people and media to feel the relief, and work in a safe environment.
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