On January 20, just two days ahead of the deadline to promulgate constitution, the major opposition- Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and its alliance organized banda (general shutdown) across the country which left the media/persons at the receiving end.
During the banda, vandalism and torch on press vehicles, including that of the Kantipur national daily, carrying newspapers for distribution, in different parts of the country, and attacks on media persons surged up.
The banda enforcers manhandled and spoke foul on photo journalist with the Himal weekly, Devaki Bista, cameraperson with Mountain TV, Srijana Kuikel, and its reporter Sharmila Thapa at Bijulibazar in the capital city.
Similarly, the vehicle of the Mountain TV, carrying reporters, was vandalized which left reporter Thapa and cameraperson Kuikel injured. They also seized the identity cards of the journalists.
The banda supporters also manhandled Bhishma Raj Ojha, reporter with the National News Agency (RSS) and seized his recorder in the capital city.
Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incidents, as these the blatant violations of the press freedom. The political protesters must resource to peaceful course, rather than being violent. They must respect freedom of expression, press freedom and right to information which are essential to democratic system.
FF has been receiving the stories on press freedom violations from different parts of the country and will continue updates.