Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Nepal: Nepalese editor survives murder attempt


In the evening of 10 November 2013, an unidentified gang made an attempt on the life of Gopal Dewan, publisher and editor of the Biswoshta weekly published in Dharan, an eastern city in the hilly region of Nepal.

According to the editor of the Fast Times daily, Keshav Ghimire, a passenger on a motorcycle opened fire on Dewan while the editor was headed to his office in Dharan. Luckily he managed to escape the shot.

Ghimire added that the police has formed a team to investigate the incident.

As the country is engrossed in the upcoming 19 November Constituent Assembly election, violence has surged up and the media has been on the receiving end. The murder attempt on Dewan is indicative of the violence that has crippled normal life in many parts of the country.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the incident as it was not only against media freedom but also an attack on the inherent right to life.

At a time when the media's role is of increasing importance and the dissemination of credible news will be key to a free and fair 19 November election, the attack on Dewan has had a discouraging effect on journalists working across the country.

The concerned authority is therefore urged strongly to arrest the shooters and bring them to book, and provide the editor with protection in order to prevent any further threats or attacks.

Maoist party cadres thrash reporter, police seize reporter's camera

On the evening of 8 November, a reporter with Radio Dolpa, Subarna Kumar Dangi, was attacked by cadres of the Young Communist League, a youth wing of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in Dolpa, a distant mountainous district in western Nepal.

The National News Agency (RSS) of Nepal wrote, "Reporter Dangi who was seriously injured said he was assaulted by six cadres of the YCL who said, 'He is the man writing about us. So, let's break his hand.'"

The reporter was beaten at Phulpani of Liku VDC [Village Development Committee] while he was heading to his home in Dangiwada.

In a separate incident, on 7 November, Raju Bishwokarma, a reporter with the RSS from Saptari, a district in the southern plain of Nepal, was harassed by security persons at the border.

According to Bishwokarma, he was manhandled and had his camera seized by security persons while he was taking photographs of a security person taking bribes from people bringing in goods illegally from abroad.

The security persons involved were from the Armed Police Force based in the Dantakalli Battalion. The officers later returned the reporter's camera, after having deleted the relevant images and video clips.

Freedom Forum condemns both of these incidents which have violated press freedom and people's right to information. We strongly urge both the Maoist party and the security forces to respect press freedom which is a significant component of a democratic society.