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Freedom Forum condemns public threat of burning media

Freedom Forum has been seriously concerned over a public threat to entire Nepali media.

At a programme organized jointly by the Indigenous Nationalities' Joint Struggle Committee, and Newa Autonomous State Manka Struggle Committee, in the capital on May 23, 2012, Malla K Sundar, a responsible person from ethnic Newar community, publicly accused the media of fomenting communal hatred and called to burn (finish off) all media.

Malla K, who is a former legislator and a journalist too, became irate with media and spit venom against entire media fraternity in the public programme.

Freedom Forum takes this remark as a very incendiary which may cause communal hatred and incite mounting attacks and threats on media. With this, media, a tool to democracy will face even more hard times.

"Malla K's remark will provoke attacks and threats on media persons. It is a Nazi-like style. The authority must bring him to book because his remark not only attacked media, fourth estate of the state, but will also spur communal hatred and ethnic conflict in Nepal," says Freedom Forum Chairperson, Taranath Dahal.

As the date to promulgate constitution is round the corner, it is natural to raise genuine demands to be incorporated in the constitution, but making such blatantly hostile and virulent remark against media is a serious attack on media and violation of the press freedom and people's right to information.

Nepali media and the journalists have been facing hard times after various ethnic communities began violent protests demanding to restructure country based on their interest- some on ethnic identity while others rejecting this.

In the name of demanding rights, the ethnic people and the supporters of their protests have grossly violated others' rights.

Most importantly, people's right to information has been gagged and media freedom violated with flurry of attacks, threats, manhandle, and vandalism on media and journalists in the recent months.

Malla K's remark has come as a series of the attack on media, a true vehicle to carry the news of people, a medium to inform and make people aware. His remark has devalued the role of media.

After such threats became common day by day, the entire Nepali media has been panicked and terrorized. It indicates that the rights of journalists will be curtailed and attacks continued.

It is noteworthy here that during the demonstrations waged by various ethnic communities across the country in the recent three weeks, Freedom Forum has recorded nearly 70 incidents of press freedom violation where as 56 incidents occurred on three days (May 20-22) alone. It obviously shows how miserable the media situation is in Nepal now.

Now, time has come to fend off all side attacks on free press in Nepal.