Nagarik daily's reporter, Shivahari Ghimire, was issued death threat by the President of Saraswati Community Forest Conservation Committee on May 3rd, the World Press Freedom Day, over a news story on massive illegal deforestation in Lalitpur. The story was published on 1 May in the Nagarik daily. Lalitpur is the district located in the southern belt of the Kathmandu Valley.
Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Ghimire shared, “After two days of news publication on illegal deforestation, President of Community Forest Preservation Committee, Raj Kumar Shrestha and Lalitpur Forest Officer, Prem Chanda Shah, threatening me over phone."
“On May 6 as well, they called me on my mobile and said, "Either I should apologize for writing news against them or they won't spare me when I walk in Lalitpur area", he added.
Reporter Ghimire confirmed that the news was based on fact and investigation. But the Forest Office, Lalitpur, seems to be under pressure with this news and that’s why, they are denying the facts and trying to escape the news story in any means possible.
A complaint has been lodged at the Metropolitan Police Office, Kathmandu, informing about the threat.
Freedom Forum seriously condemns this incident which is sheer intimidation on journalists' right to free reporting. It is worrying that the government officials are not receptive to media freedom yet. Hence, Freedom Forum strongly urges the concerned authority to be aware to prevent attack on journalist Ghimire.
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