Freedom Forum's stringer for Province-3 reported that Office of the President barred the photo and video journalists of private media from covering the swearing-in ceremony of governors (Provincial Chiefs) of seven provinces on January 19 (Friday). The Office of the President lies in the capital city of Nepal.
Quoting Nagarik Daily's Photo Journalist Dinesh Gole, Stringer Ashok Dahal explained that on reaching Sheetal Niwas to cover the event, security persons stopped them by entering into the oath taking hall after checking identity cards. Photo and video journalists of State owned media outlets including the National News Agency (RSS), Gorkhapatra daily and Nepal Television were however allowed inside the Office of the President with their cameras.
"But over two dozen journalists from private media were stopped at media center in the premises of the President office" informed Dahal quoting Gole.
Similarly, Stringer Dahal quoted video journalist of News Agency Sabin Dhamala stating that the office was barring photo and video journalists from private media for a long without reason. "I remember that we were given access at the office to cover news. Since then the office has not given access to cover any event inside only to the private media," said Dhamala, according to Dahal.
Stringer Dahal continued, "The President Office used to be media friendly until few years ago, but its behaviour to the media especially independent and private has been changed recently."
Freedom Forum expresses serious concern to the President's office behavior towards media person. Not allowing journalists for news coverage (photos and videos) is against the constitutional right for freedom of the press, right to information of the public and against democratic values. Hence, FF strongly urges the authority to respect press freedom, citizen's access to information.
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