Freedom Forum's stringer for Province 4, Rajan Upadhyaya, reported that Pokhara's correspondent with online news portal sancharkendra.com, Astha Nepali, was manhandled by police persons while reporting on August 5, 2017. Pokhara lies on province 4 of Nepal.
Quoting reporter Nepali, stringer Upadhyaya said, "Reporter Nepali was manhandled by the police persons while taking pictures and video of a dispute between police and businesspersons that broke after a theft in a market even under police security. Police Inspector Basanta Sharma leading the team tried to grab the camera of reporter forcefully for taking video."
Despite sporting her press card, some women police said that ‘they did not care whoever she was’, added stringer quoting reporter Nepali.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Khadka Bdr. Khatri at District Police Office Kaski, however, said that he would further investigate into the case.
After 2 days, Police Inspector Basanta Sharma apologized for his behavior towards the reporter in Pokhara.
During a meeting held among journalists and police persons on August 8, Police Inspector apologized in front of reporter Nepali realizing his mistake.
Thereafter, reporter Nepali also informed that she was ready to end the dispute thus, acknowledging the apology and further suggested to be aware not to repeat such behavior in future.
Freedom Forum though, appreciates the apology from Police person however, condemns the incident as it is a gross violation of press freedom. Despite continuous prodding to the security agency to be aware of journalists’ rights to free reporting, they have been hostile to journalists. Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority again realize the value of journalism for functional democracy where freedom of expression and information is protected.
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