Freedom Forum’s stringer for Province No. 2, Ajay Shah reported that Chief Election Officer Sharada Prasad Koirala manhandled and broke camera of a local correspondent with Janata television and local FM Bidhyananda Ram while reporting in Saptari on September 24, 2017. Saptari district lies in Province No. 2.
Quoting correspondent Ram, stringer Shah said, “At 9:00 am, he reached District Election Office, Rajbiraj to report the discussion program held among all-party representatives to resume the vote count of Rajbiraj municipality. Meanwhile, Officer Koirala seized his camera and threw it on the ground saying journalists were not allowed to report on election-related activities, so he could not enter.”
Chief Election Officer Koirala however, refused to talk to journalists upon the issue, informed stringer Shah.
Later, vote counting resumed from 3:00 pm but yet no journalists are allowed to carry their camera and mobile phones into the place for reporting.
Freedom Forum has serious concern over such hostile behavior of government official to journalists while reporting. Obstructing journalists from reporting is mere misuse of power and sheer violation of press freedom as well as citizen's right to information. Hence, FF strongly urges concerned authority to take immediate action upon the recurring intimidation on working journalists following phase III local level poll in Province 2.
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