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Press freedom violations continue in southern plains

As some political parties have kept on agitation in different districts of the southern plains of the country, the press freedom violations are also continuous. The media persons are facing the threats from agitating party cadres with the pressure sometime to write and sometime not to write on any issue, while the security persons are also quite hostile to them, thereby jeopardizing journalists' right to free reporting.

Political cadres torch press vehicle
The cadres of the agitating Madhesi Front torched a vehicle belonging to the Kantipur national daily in Birgunj, a city in the central southern plains of Nepal, on 27 December.

According to a reporter for the Kantipur daily from Birgunj city, Bhushan Yadav, the Front cadres set on fire the press vehicle (Ba 13 Cha 495) while it was returning to Chitwan city after circulating newspapers in Birgung. The arson took place early in the morning.

As per the news reported by Yadav, the cadres blocked the road, stopped the vehicle, took the staffs out from it and set the vehicle on fire by sprinkling petrol. The cadres said to the Kantipur staffs, "Why the newspaper published news against Tarai/Madhes?"

Reporter Jha serious with police attack
Similarly, on December 24, police persons attacked Abadhesh Jha, reporter to the Kantipur daily from Biratnagar, a southern city in the eastern part of Nepal.

Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Jha said, "Police persons attacked me while I was visualizing their atrocities on protestors. Although I was on press jacket, they kicked me again and again, and even on the sensitive part which made me nearly unconscious. Later I was rescued by fellow journalists and taken to a local Golden Hospital. I was discharged after two days and have been taking rest, taking medicine."

Threat of attack on reporters
Similarly, in Sarlahi, another district in the central southern plains of Nepal, the security persons threatened Bishwonath Thakur and Om Prakash Thakur of attack while they were taking photos on police vandalizing vehicles used by the protestors at Malangawa, on December 21.

Bishwonath, is the station manager of a local Radio Madhes, while Om Prakash, reporter for the Kantipur daily from the district.

Freedom Forum condemns the above incidents which grossly violated the press freedom. The police attack on reporter Jha leading to sickness is quite condemnable.  The police persons involved such coordinated attack must be brought to book. Once the security persons, the institution providing security to people, turn demonic to journalists, the frontline right defender, it depicts eroding system, an attack on democratic values. The circulation of newspapers has blocked free flow of information. Also, Freedom Forum wishes for speedy recovery of ailing journalist.

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;