On the nationwide banda (general shutdown), on August 16, incidents of press freedom violation occurred in different parts of the country. The strike was triggered with unreceptive response of some sections of political parties and communities to the proposed six provinces for federalizing the country.
The protestors mobilized by the Joint Tharuhat Madhes Struggle Committee in Banke, a city in the southern plains of mid-west, burnt national dailies- Kantipur, Nagarik and Annapurna Post- reasoning they did not prioritize the news of their protests.
According to a reporter with the National News Agency (RSS) from Banke, Mr Niraj Gautam, the district leader of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Lalit Rauniyar, provoked the cadres to burn newspapers, saying these were conspiring against their agitation.
Similarly, the protestors assembled in a number of 40 vandalized a press vehicle (Na 2 Cha 1317) belonging to the Nagarik daily. The vehicle was ferrying the daily early morning.
Moreover, the vehicle (Ba 5 Cha 4778) used by journalist and chairperson of Reporters' Club, Rishi Dhamala, was vandalized by the protestors in the capital city, Kathmandu, same day.
Freedom Forum condemns these incidents which grossly violate press freedom. Journalists' right to free reporting is breached; while journalists panicked and harassed thereby obstructing free flow of information.
Therefore, the political parties need to make aware their cadres that their activities were hostile to media freedom and suppressing journalists' rights to free reporting. Such activities do not suit the democratic culture. The political parties as the vibrant actors for democracy need to shun violent measures to put forth demand or object any.
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