Freedom Forum has been deeply concerned over the exodus of journalists from Dailekh district seeking security following the flurry of public threats of life by the ruling Maoists party leaders and cadres.
As many as 22 journalists left Dailekh, a far western district of the country on January 24, 2013 and came to Surkhet, mid-western district, reasoning they were facing constant threats to life after they reported on the ongoing investigation over the murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa in the district.
Talking to Freedom Forum from Surkhet, reporter with the Annapurna Post daily, Pushkar Thapa and reporter with the Nagarik daily, Govinda KC, univocally said, "Flurry of death threats by the Maoist party cadres in Dailekh made us leave the district for the life's safety and security. The transfer of chiefs in district offices who were investigating into the Dekendra's case has further feared us of action by the Maoists."
The voices of the panicked journalists show how terrific the government emerged against them thereby sabotaging freedom of expression and media freedom.
"Mass displacement of journalists from Dailekh district is the proof that the government led by the Maoist party is against rights of journalists. Similarly, transfer of the murder-investigating officials in the district has cast doubt over fair investigation on Dekendra's murder case. Present government is the worst one in Nepal's history in terms of media freedom and citizen's right to information," says Taranath Dahal, Chairperson of the Freedom Forum.
It is worth mentioning here that all journalists across the country have been agitated against the Maoists' terror and threats mounting double by day and so forth by night. They are all in campaigns against government's failure to ensure security. Moreover, the rights defenders, legal practitioners, media persons, rights bodies and other professionals have decried the government's move to suppress media.
Also, reports have come from different districts that the Maoists party has banned the journalists from entering its programme for news reporting.
Freedom Forum therefore vehemently condemns the government's threat to journalists, which has mocked at every principle of democracy and human rights. The displaced journalists are in immediate need of return to their working station. So, the government must ensure them free and fair climate for reporting.