Freedom Forum shows serious concern over the arrest of media persons during their field reporting in and out of the capital.
According to the Nepal Police sources, as many as eight journalists were arrested from their home and field for their alleged involvement in anti-election activities.
Among the journalists arrested in different dates are Prakash Dumre (Garjan Post Weekly, Rupandehi), Jagdishnath Yogi and Kali Bahadur Mahatara (Janaprabhat Weekly, Kalikot), Dipesh Shahi (Madhyana Daily, Kathmandu), Khem Thapaliya (Jaljala Monthly, Kathmandu), Jitendra Maharjan (Nhigu Jwojolappa, Kathmandu), Jaayeshwor Acharya and Padam Prasad Pokharel (Pyuthan Vision Monthly, Pyuthan).
It is worth mentioning that the country is witnessing a fever of poll with the elections to the House of Representatives and State Assemblies coming round the corner.
Talking to Freedom Forum Media Monitoring Desk, Editor at Muldhar Weekly News Ramesh Bista said, "Most of the journalists were nabbed while reporting news. Though the Nepal Police noted that journalists were involved in the anti-election activities, they have not made public any evidence substantiate the claims".
The information of arrests was collected by Freedom Forum's legal desk while following the cases with Nepal Police offices in different districts.
District Police Office In-charge at Pyuthan and Kalikot districts informed, "We are not aware whether they are journalists. But, they were arrested while painting anti-election slogans on the street walls."
Similarly, the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range informed that all three journalists were arrested for their involvement with the outfit Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand 'Biplav'.
The government has kept the Biplav-led party's leaders and cadres under surveillance, for the party have been involved in the election disrupting campaign.
However, among the journalists arrested, Reporter Dipesh Shahi was caught from the premises of Norvic International Hospital based in Thapathali, Kathmandu while reporting on the sudden demise of the son of former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Freedom Forum is further monitoring the cases minutely to determine whether the arrest of journalists has any linkage with the violation of free expression.
Hence, Freedom Forum urges the concerned authority to carry out fair and prompt investigation into the cases thus, respecting journalists' right to free reporting and freedom of expression.
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