During the banda (general shutdown) called in various parts of the country, manhandle and misbehavior on journalists continued.
The supporters of the Tharuhat Struggle Committee manhandled Hom Raj Ranabhat, reporter with the Gorkhapatra daily from Nawalparasi, district in the southern plain in the west of Nepal on May 8, 2012. The Committee had organized banda in the region and obstructed the free movement of journalists for news reporting.
Similarly, in the same district, journalists associated with the Bijay FM, Nawalparasi,- Milan Parajuli and Prem Bahadur Chhetri were manhandled by the supporters of the Struggle Committee.
According to Station Manager at the Bijay FM, Bhumi Raj Chapagain, the banda supporters also seized journalists' identity cards and took hold of the key to motorcycle they were using.
Moreover, in the capital city of Kathmandu, the banda organizers seized the ID cards of Ram Sharan Bajgain and Bhim Gautam, journalists associated with the Sourya daily, at Nalinchowk on 11 May. They also roughed up the journalists while making news about the banda.
On the same day, editor with the National News Agency (RSS) of Nepal, Sharad Chandra Bhandary was asked to get off motorcycle while coming to office during banda at Gaushala in the capital. He was also roughed up while trying to identify as a journalist.
As the time to promulgate new constitution is round the corner in the country, various ethnic communities have mounted demonstrations demanding their problems be addressed in the new constitution. With this, the banda and demonstrations have badly affected the free movement of journalists, and they are facing misbehavior time and again.
Freedom Forum calls the concerned authorities to tam the unruly ones in order to avoid possible threats and attacks on journalists thereby respecting people's right to information.