Freedom Forum has been alarmed over the destruction of the building of Radio Dhading (106 MHZ) of Dhading, a neighbouring district to the capital city, Kathmandu, by the local administration early today (September 23).
Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, Station Manager of the FM, Rajaram Sharma, said, "A team mobilized by the district authority reached the FM station at 4:00 am, forced the employees out of the office and bulldozed the building. It not only destroyed the equipment but also halted radio service completely. The loss of some Rs 10 million was caused by this attack."
Station Manager Sharma also claimed that the employees in the office building were also manhandled while forcing them out of the office. It was early morning, some employees were sleeping.
The FM Radio had shifted its office to a nearby local Amarawati Community Forest after its building was collapsed during the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015.
Earlier too, the District Forest Office had tried to bulldoze the office reasoning it was in the community forest, and was forcing the FM management to remove the office. Even a case was filed at Supreme Court demanding the relocation of the FM station. But, the Court had sought the reason with the District Forest Office behind the demand of relocation of FM building, reasoning the State itself is the protector of the community media. The case was under consideration.
But, to a gross violation of freedom of expression, signaling the attack during that of conflict period, the attack by the local authority on the FM station is quite sickening and condemnable. It debunks how atrocious the government is towards media. It has undervalued the importance of news and citizen's right to information as well.
Instead of adopting a peaceful and lawful measure to solve problem, the one-sided attack on the media house is vehemently condemned by Freedom Forum. The government must speak clearly on it, making aware the local authority to respect freedom of expression and media rights. Atmosphere must be created conducive for the quick resumption of FM radio.
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