FF was alarmed over the arrest of photojournalist Barsha Shah associated with the www.deshsanchar.com, a prominent news portal. She was detained by police for three hours for taking photos of a symbolic protest outside the President Office on December 13.
According to FF representative for Province 3, Ashok Dahal, police seized her camera after she took photos of four protesters trying to gift a toy car to the President as a symbolic protest against the government decision to buy posh car to the Head of the State.
"A police patrol took her under control though she introduced herself as a journalist and showed press card ", shared Shah with FF representative Dahal.
Moreover, photojournalist Shah described, “I was waiting for a bus after the security persons removed protesters from the entrance gate of President Office. A police team came and asked me to show pictures I had captured outside the gate. I introduced them as a journalist and said that I can show my identity card but not the photos I have taken. Then, Sub-Inspector Yam Paudel asked fellows to catch me and they also snatched my phone when I tried to inform my office about the incident.”
According to her, they also spoke humiliating words to her and discredited that mere possession of press card was not enough to make one a journalist.
Shah was taken to the Maharagunj police office after half an hour in a police van and released only after three hours of interrogation. She got her phone back only after DSP visited the office.
“I had to wait for three hours to get released because chief of the police was outside. When DSP came back he apologized, saying he was not aware about the incident,” she added.
Shah has a swelling mark on her neck due to police manhandling during her arrest.
FF vehemently condemns the incident as it is sheer violation of press freedom. At a time where government intolerance towards the journalists is increasing, this incident targeting the female journalists disowns government competency on guarantee of press freedom in the country.
FF urges the concerned authority to investigate the issue seriously and strongly recommend the government agencies to respect, protect and ensure rights of the journalists during the reporting.
For More Information: