JANUARY 30, 2012 An incident of press freedom violation has made Freedom Forum gravely concerned. The incident occurred in Dhankuta, eastern hilly district, on January 29, 2012.
Security persons took 36 journalists under control for four hours while the latter were for the new coverage about the program attended by the Prime Minister. They were also with black armbands as a peaceful protest against the recent classification of information by the government.
In the name of protecting information, the government has given directive to all ministries to keep 140 types of information confidential which obviously suppress people's right to information (RTI).
At a time the country is gradually gaining the ground for RTI regime, the government move to keep many types of information secret is a move to promote corruption and malpractice.
Moreover, taking under the journalists, the police persons violated the press freedom thereby depriving people of getting true information on time.
The journalists were in a very peaceful protest, the protest against the unjust government move to classify information.
Similarly, they were in the program attended by the Prime Minister, most important and responsible person to ensure rights to all citizens including journalists. But police showed lowly manner by taking them under control for four hours.
"It shows how irresponsible the administration is towards press freedom which is a must in a democratic state. On the other hand, the government is trying to be oppressive to the RTI laws thereby being non-transparent in its behaviours," said Freedom Forum Chairman Taranath Dahal.
Freedom Forum, therefore, condemns the incident and urges the Prime Minister to become responsible towards people's right to information and respect journalists' rights to make news and peaceful protest against administrative malpractice. The security persons should also be meted out punishment.