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Press Freedom Violations Up

Freedom Forum has been alarmed over various incidents of press freedom violations occurred in different parts of the country of late.

Attack with torch
On November 20, Irfan Ali, reporter for the News 24 television from Birgunj, a city in the southern plains of the country, was attacked by the cadres of the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).

"I was visualizing the torch rally organized by the UDMF on the evening. All of a sudden, some people moved to me saying 'I was a journalist and not making good news'. One of them hurled a torch on me which burnt my shirt and injured on shoulder. However, I escaped the serious injury."

Attack at work place
Similarly, on 21 November, a contractor attacked a reporter in Nepalgunj, a city in the southern plains of the mid west of Nepal over the news he wrote on irregularity on construction of a bridge.
"I had written a news story as 'payment to contractor before completion of bridge construction' in the Nagarik daily three months back. But, the contractor Ganesh Shahi called me in the evening, came to the office, spoke foul on me and manhandled. As there were other friends in the office (regional office), the attack was averted," said Arjun Oli, reporter to the Nagarik daily from Nepalgunj city.

Threat
In another incident, on November 16, News Chief at a local Radio Marsyangdi, Yuvraj Shrestha, from Lamjung was issued death threat over a news story on black marketing of petrol.

"The radio aired a news story about black marketing of petrol from an Oil Store owned by Shree Kant Ghimire in the morning. In the evening, Ghimire came to my room and threatened of attack asking why I had aired the news," said News Chief Shrestha informing Freedom Forum.

FM radio stops news bulletin owing to pressure from agitating parties
A FM radio named Sanskar FM of Bara, a district in the southern plains of the country, has recently stopped airing bulletins on local news in view of the tremendous pressure from the agitating political parties.

Marketing Chief at the FM, Bholanath Poudel shared the woes that the FM station had received many letters from the United Democratic Madhesi Forum, an alliance of political parties waging agitation in the southern plains of the country.

Mr Poudel further said they not only burnt our newspaper named Sanskar Khabar daily, but gave pressure not to makes news about the activities of other political parties and the Constituent Assembly members who have signed for new constitution.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns these incidents which have flatly violated press freedom, and journalists' right to free reporting. The UDMF needs to make aware its cadres not to violate journalists' right to free reporting while waging agitation. The growing pressure on media to halt news airing is quite against democratic values. It has obstructed free flow of information and citizen's right to information.

For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: monitoring@freedomforum.org.np;  info@freedomforum.org.np;