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Political leaders threaten journalist of physical action

Freedom Forum has been concerned over the press freedom violation occurred in Mugu, an upper hilly district in the mid-western region of Nepal on June 26, 2013.

Suman Malla, reporter with the Nayapatrika daily from Mugu, was threatened of physical action over the news story he wrote about political parties' sharing of budget in a Village Development Committee (VDC).

Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, reporter with the Kantipur daily from Mugu Raj Bahadur Shahi said, "Reporter Malla was invited by Chief District Officer Hira Lal Chadhari at his office where the district leaders of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML parties grilled why he wrote the news. They threatened him of breaking hands and legs if he continued writing such."

The incident was quite abhorrent that the political parties wallowed in misuse of budget and corruption threatened journalist in the presence of CDO, who instead of taking action on the political parties involved in the financial irregularities, encouraged them to grill the journalists, torch bearers to expose social and financial malpractices.

It is the latest case of the political parties threatening journalist to hide their embezzlement. Such incidents are responsible for growing self-censorship among journalists which is harmful to professional journalism.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident and strongly urges the concerned political parties to respect press freedom and citizen's right to information. And, the CDO needs to take the case seriously and take action on those involved in the embezzlement of the VDC budget.