Office of the Tikapur daily published from Dhangadhi, far-western region of Nepal, was vandalized and set on fire over the publication of news on a road accident on the very first day of New Year 2014. Even the journalists affiliated to the daily were threatened publicly of attack over the news.
Talking to media monitoring desk of the Freedom Forum, Editor of the Tikapur daily, Bhubaneswor Adhikari, said, "A group led by a local Arjun Kunwar set the newspaper's office on fire at 10 am over the news the daily published about the road accident today."
According to him, the publication of five dailies and three weeklies was halted due to the arson. The printing paper worth Rs 85,000 was destroyed in fire. "There is no security for us to walk out from home now," he said, adding that there was not any mistake in the news content as they had confirmed about the death of Kunwar's relative quoting his voice. However, he unnecessarily committed arson, he complained.
The police have been informed about the arson and has ensured of action on the miscreants, the editor added.
Freedom Forum (FF) vehemently condemns the incident which has not only vandalized and set the office on fire but also panicked journalists and made them halt the publication of newspaper. It is a serious violation of press freedom and of people's right to information.
"The incident occurred in the background that FF had brought the 2013's annual report, saying some improvement in the press freedom has given a bad signal for the New Year," said FF Chairman Taranath Dahal, adding that the press freedom was always in jeopardy in Nepal.
FF, therefore, demands stringent action against the arsonists and urges the local authorities concerned to create atmosphere to resume the publication of newspapers.
It may be noted that as many as 59 press freedom violations had occurred in 2013 which was a sharp decline against 2012's 147 incidents. In 2011, FF had recorded 96 press freedom violations.
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