In the night of November 25, an unknown gang of four persons attacked Parasi FM of Nawalparasi, a district in the central southern plains of the country.
Talking to Freedom Forum, Station Manager at Parasi FM, Megharaj Gautam, said, "It was nearly 10:00pm as per the watchman. The unknown persons came to the FM station, burnt a motorcycle, and sprinkled petrol to set the FM station building on fire. However, as the petrol was scattered hurriedly, it remained on the floor only, which prevented any big fire damage."
In a question whether there was any threat to FM and its journalists earlier, Station Manager Gautam said there was not any direct threat, but the agitating political parties used to complain of not giving major space to their protest in the news.
"Just before the attack, as the gatekeeper said, he was alone after FM office was closed. An unknown phone call was made saying the news on blockade need to be corrected as it was not 'blockade', "added Mr Gautam.
The security office and administration office in the district inspected the situation in the morning. The FM is closed now, as the entire FM people are panicked to operate it immediately.
In a separate incident, in Parsa, another district in the southern plain, editor of a local Utthan weekly, Sudarshan Raj Pandey, was manhandled by some people, saying, 'You're the journalist writing whatever you like about the agitation'.
It was informed to Freedom Forum by reporter for the Nagarik daily from Birgunj city, Ritesh Tripathi.
Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the attack on FM station, burning of press vehicle and manhandle to the editor, which have not only spread panic among the journalists, but also challenged media freedom. As informed by the journalists, the agitating political parties in the southern plains are quite unreceptive to the media persons. Freedom Forum strongly urges the agitating political parties and groups to respect journalists' right to free reporting and ensure free flow of information. While making any demand/protest, the rights of another side, and importantly of media, need to be respected. The local authority must investigate fairly and bring the culprits to book.
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