On November 22, police persons manhandled journalists- Om Prakash Shah with Bilochan weekly, Shatish Datt with Mithila weekly, Ashutosh Prasad Singh with C FM, and Parish Karna with Chandra FM -while they were reporting about the agitation of various political parties in Saptari, a district in the central southern plains of Nepal.
Talking to Freedom Forum, Prakash Khatiwada, reporter to a local Saptakoshi FM, said, "The journalists were making news and photographing a person killed by police firing during the protest. But a group of police persons manhandled them and abused verbally."
"Who are you to make news? Don't visualize the clash," reporter Khatiwada said quoting the security persons as speaking against journalists on duty.
On 23 November, they vandalized a motorcycle used by Parish Karna, added reporter Khatiwada.
It has been very difficult for the journalists on free reporting in the southern plains of the country for some months. Both the security persons and agitating are treating journalists harshly. Despite sporting press jacket and informing they were journalists, both security and agitating parties are unreceptive to media person, which is quite condemnable.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident which grossly violated press freedom. It has created panic among the journalists. The security agencies must tell the lower level security employees to abide by the press freedom and journalists' right to free reporting. Only free press can suit the democracy, FF concludes.
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