Nepal's Province-2 failed to maintain transparency regarding the distribution of press pass to journalists and other persons during the Janakpur visit program of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi which directly affected free reporting in the province.
According to Freedom Forum's Province-2 representative Rajan Singh, press passes were provided to journalists permitting their entrance only to Janakpur Airport, Janaki Temple and Barha Bigha.
He shared that the Office of Chief Minister of Province 2, Janakpur sub-metropolitan city and Guthi Sansthan (trust-based organization) had provided the passes without setting any standard for the distribution.
More than 400 press passes were distributed for the program. However, the representatives of political parties had reportedly misused the passes.
Journalist associated to Reja Today Dainik, Kishor Mandal, complained that "Local representatives had already occupied the seats allotted for journalists at the program that largely troubled them to cover the program properly." He also shared that this situation led to a heated argument between the journalists and representatives.
Apart from the representatives, other people were also seen using the press pass to participate in the program without being acknowledged as journalist and media representative.
Also, local journalists were held within the confined boundary allocated for them whereas journalists from government and Indian news agencies were allowed to enter the program site to cover the news.
Freedom Forum condemns the Province 2 action for mistreating journalists and providing the press pass to anyone without any rules and standard. FF urges the government to make systematic plans and procedure during foreign dignitaries' official visit so that the press would not have to face unwanted hassles and an environment would be enabled for journalists to work in a decent manner.
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Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
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