The District Police Office, Gorkha, has been keeping Bikash Bhattarai, a reporter with Janata TV from Gorkha district, in detention for eight days. He was arrested by the police, reasoning the 'high level order to arrest the cadres of the Biplav-led Maoist party.'
When Freedom Forum inquired the District Police Office, Gorkha, the Chief of the Police, informed that Bhattarai was detained because he was a the district committee member of the Biplav-led party. "The order from the 'high level' was that anyone belonging to the Bilav-led party should be detained for they were disrupting the election," he informed.
The government has kept the Biplav-led party's leaders and cadres under close observation, for the party has involved in the anti-election campaign.
Journalist Bhattarai was arrested from a place near the vote counting.
Nepal conducted the first round of local level election in 34 out of 75 districts on May 14, and the vote count is still continued in various places.
However, a reporter with the National News Agency (RSS) from Gorkha, Prasanna Pokharel, informed Freedom Forum that Bhattarai was arrested while he was reporting about vote counting.
He further said reporter Bhattarai was not involved in the political affairs but reporting on vote count.
Freedom Forum shows the concern over the arrest of journalist Bhattarai. As the two sides expressed contradictory views, FF explores further to ascertain whether Bhattarai was involved in political protest or news reporting. As the press freedom is the fundamental rights, the arrest if has breached his right is obviously the violation of press freedom.
Meanwhile, similar cases of arrest have been received by the FF and are under consideration to differentiate whether the arrests are the violation of freedom of expression and press freedom.
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