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FNJ condemns mistreatment of five journalists by UN Mission staff in Bethan

(FNJ/IFEX) - Bhola Thapa, president of FNJ's Kavre chapter, Jagat Nepal and Khagendra Bhandari, news correspondents of Kantipur Television, Deep Rayamajhi, cameraperson of Kantipur Television, and Tika Bhatta, of "Kantipur Daily", were mistreated by the staff of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) on 3 March 2008, at Bethan in the Ramechhap district, located in the eastern region of Nepal.

According to the press release issued by Mahesh Paudel, secretary of FNJ's Kavre chapter, the journalists were on their way to the site where a UNMIN helicopter had crashed, in order to cover the news. On the way UNMIN staff forcefully commandeered the vehicle hired by journalists. Despite this interference, the journalists reached the site an hour later using another vehicle. While the journalists were covering the crash, UNMIN staff warned them not to take any photographs or video clips without their agreement. UNMIN personnel forced them to delete the pictures and video clippings that they had already taken.

FNJ has condemned the incident, stating that such actions infringe on press freedom and freedom of expression. FNJ urges the authorities not to unduly interfere with journalists' ability to cover such events.

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