A Director at the Department of Transport Management Office Minbhawan Kathmandu threatened Sagarmatha Television reporter Sikha Shrestha and Cameraperson Ajay Hakuju of suing under new Civil Code for reporting about anomalies at the office on October 23, 2018.
As per the information send by FF's representative for Province 3, Ashok Dahal, director at the office, Shree Chandra Saha warned them of suing under the newly enacted civil codes for taking videos without his permission. "We were following a service seeker at the office who was struggling to get his work done because of the office staffs dilly-dallying their work. When we entered to Saha's room following the service seeker, he warned us of suing under Civil Codes for taking his videos without prior permission," journalist Shrestha shared.
Though the journalist argued that there was no need of prior permission for taking videos at the public place, the government official asked not to take his videos and warned them of taking actions as per the right to privacy provision mentioned under civil code. "He asked us of stop taking videos with harassing gesture and also warned of suing in a bid to stop our attempt of exposing anomalies at the office," journalist Shrestha said.
Irrespective of the warning from the director the journalist didn't withdraw their reporting about the plight of service seekers at the office. Offices of the Transport Management are known among most corrupt office in Nepal.
Journalists and civil society organizations have been demanding amendment on new Civil and Criminal Codes which were implemented from September earlier this year for its restrictive provisions. Also, the provision that restricts taking videos and photos without the permission of the person has been amended where journalists are exempted from privacy breach for taking pictures and videos for the reporting purpose.
Freedom Forum condemns the threat issued to the journalist by public officials in course of reporting. Public officials should know about the amendments in law made by the government and should not come in between the investigative reporting. FF urges the concerned authority to investigate the issue seriously.
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