Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nepal: Politician issues death threat against journalist


Freedom Forum

Freedom Forum is concerned over a press freedom violation that occurred in Itahari, a city in the southern plain of eastern Nepal, on May 25, 2013.

Somnath Bastola, a reporter with the Annapurna Post national daily from Itahari, received a death threat from Hem Karna Poudel, leader of the Nepali Congress party in Sunsari district, over a report of Bastola's on crime.

According to Bastola, Poudel threatened to kill him and accused him of writing an erroneous news report about Surya Rai, another cadre of the party involved in criminal activities. The district leader of the Nepali Congress argued that Rai was clean.

The journalist added that Rai is on the police's most wanted list, a fact to which he refers in his news report.

This is the latest in a series of incidents highlighting how hostile political leaders are when it comes to free reporting. Moreover, an attempt by a politician to protect an individual accused of criminal activities jeopardizes all citizens' security. Freedom Forum condemns the death threat and strongly urges the Nepali Congress party to address the issue of its cadres who are involved in crime. Freedom Forum also urges the police administration to arrest Rai and sanction him. Furthermore, Bastola is fearing for his safety and the authorities should provide him with security and fend off any potential assault in the coming days.