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Journalists assaulted

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - On 21 March 2012, five journalists were beaten and verbally assaulted in Bara, a district in the southern plains area of Nepal's central region.

Followers and protectors of Ram Bahadur Bamjan, who is claimed to be the "Little Buddha" for his years-long meditation and seclusion, assaulted the journalists while they were taking photographs of Bamjan as he was coming out of seclusion to deliver a sermon.

Bibhu Adhikari, a reporter with News 24 television, told Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk: "Although we (Adhikari, Resham Tiwari of Nepal Television, Binod Pyakurel of Tarai Television, Basanta Khatiwada of the 'Ghatana Ra Bichar' weekly and Prakash Lamsal of Image Television) were called on to cover the news, some of Bamjan's followers and protectors, including Darshan Limbu, Bolhari Rai and a German national, beat us, seized our cameras and damaged the reels while we were filming Bamjan, who was entering the public sphere to deliver a sermon after meditating." He said Bamjan's followers also verbally assaulted the journalists, adding that they managed to contact the police in order to seek assistance.

This is the latest incident in a series of attacks and threats against journalists, perpetrated by various sectors.

Freedom Forum condemns this press freedom violation and strongly urges the local authorities to punish those responsible for assaulting the journalists so as to minimize impunity and ensure that justice is served in these types of cases.

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