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12 Incidents of Press Freedom Violations on 20 Jan Banda- Update

Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk recorded a total of 12 incidents of press freedom violations which were perpetrated by the banda (general shutdown) organizers in different parts, including the capital city, of the country on January 20, just two days ahead of the deadline to bring constitution.
The general strike was called by 30-party alliance led by the major opposition, former rebellion, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), as a pressure tactic for consensus-based constitution.

During the banda, the media persons, and media houses faced hard times, all because of the banda supporters. They not only manhandled and spoke foul on reporters, but seized recorders, news papers and vandalized and set on fire the press vehicles.

To chronicle,

Torch/Vandalism
1)    A vehicle carrying news print paper of the Kantipur daily burnt at Bharatpur, Chitwan, a city in the central plains of the country,
2)    Another vehicle carrying the Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post dailies torched in Siraha, southern plain of the country,
3)    Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post dailies seized and burnt in the same district,
4)    Vehicle belonging to the Mountain TV vandalized at Bizulibazar of the capital city

Manhandle
1)    Moutain TV's cameraperson Srijana Kuikel and reporter Sirjana Thapa
2)    Cameraperson of the Himal weekly, Devaki Bista
3)    Journalist with Associated France Presse (AFP), Upendra Man Shrestha
4)    Chhaya Chandra Bhandari, Editor at News Abhiyan daily
5)    Reporter with the National News Agency (RSS), Bhishma Raj Ojha
6)    Journalist of Sandakpur daily from Ilam district, Tika Kathiwada

These incidents occurred in the capital city, Kathmandu.

Threat of Attack
1)    The Image Channel TV in the capital city
2)    The Annapurna Post Office in the capital city

These media houses were threatened of attack by alleging of reporting negatively on the protest organizing parties.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incidents which are the blatant violations of the press freedom. The political protesters must resort to peaceful course, rather than being violent to pose their demands. They must respect freedom of expression, press freedom and right to information which are the essentials of a democratic system.