Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Nepal: News team attacked while reporting on raid on Nepalese dairy


Freedom Forum

Freedom Forum is concerned over a press freedom violation which occurred in the capital city of Kathmandu on June 17, 2013.

Nepal Television reporter Subhadra Gautam, cameraperson Shiva Pangeni and driver Lalit Bahadur Khatri were attacked by a group of people while reporting on a raid by government officials at a dairy in Bhaktapur, a district in the Kathmandu Valley.

Pangeni said, "As soon as I began filming the monitoring and raid conducted at the local Kharipati Dairy, the owner called a group of people from outside and they attacked me, reporter Gautam and driver Khatri for reporting on the story."

However, the police presence deterred the worsening of the situation, he added.

According to Pangeni the attackers said, "Why are you reporting? Who told you to make a news story?"

The monitoring and raid were conducted by government officials to check the purity and standard of the milk.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident, and urges the concerned authority to bring the attackers to book. Barring journalists from making news about an issue of public concern such as substandard dairy products is against press freedom and citizens' right to information.

Press freedom was also violated in a separate incident which took place in Biratnagar, an eastern city in the southern plain of Nepal on June 10, 2013.

Brahma Dev Yadav, a reporter for the Popular FM station of Inaruwa, and Kaushal Niraula, a reporter for Tarai Television and Radio Makalu, were assaulted while reporting on a clash between the police and agitating indigenous people at Biratnagar Sub-Metropolis.

Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Niraula said, "An employee of the Biratnagar Sub-Metropolis attacked me from behind saying 'your write negative news'." Similarly, Yadav was assaulted by police while reporting on the protest, he added.

The incident shows how hostile the authorities including the police can be toward media, curtailing the free practice of reporting. Such incidents sow fear and self-censorship among journalists, a detriment to professional journalism.

Freedom Forum therefore strongly urges the concerned authorities to question the attackers and take action accordingly.