Freedom Forum is alarmed by discriminatory state behavior towards Nepali journalists which was manifested when the latter were obstructed from taking pictures and covering news during recent two-day Nepal visit program of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Journalists from Nepali private media houses had been barred from covering news of Indian PM's Muktinath Temple site visit in Mustang and his civic reception in Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City organized the felicitation function to the Indian PM Modi at City Hall (Rastriya Sabhagriha) in the capital. Irrespective of having special entrance pass issued by the Department of Information and Foreign Ministry for the event, media persons were forced to remain outside the City Hall premises. Following the authority barring journalists from covering the event, journalists had resorted to stage protest by putting down their camera and pen. Surprisingly, Indian journalists and journalists from state-owned media were only allowed entrance to the program venue.
“We put down our camera on the floor for 20 minutes after the authority barred us from covering the event irrespective of having special press pass" said Xinhua News agency photographer Sunil Sharma.
Earlier, Nepali media were barred from covering Modi’s worships to Muktinath Temple in Mustang. Chief Minister of Province 4, Prithvi Subba has expressed objection over the discrimination imposed on Nepali Journalist during Modi's Muktinath Visit. About 25 journalists were affected from the incident.
Freedom Forum condemns the biased behavior of state towards the Nepali journalist. Obstructing journalists from reporting in the pretext of possible security threat is not acceptable in today's context. Undermining the role of media in country weakens the trust of the media practitioners and obstructing the journalists from reporting the news is against the fundamental notion of press freedom and freedom of expression.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident and urges the concerned authority not only to discourage journo to do their professional duty but also ensure safety arrangement for media. It is the duty of the state to protect all constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms including press freedom and violence on media from state is in no way be accepted. So, Freedom Forum also reminds the state to perform its duty to enable environment for media freedom.
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