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Journalists assaulted by police officials while covering festival celebrations

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - On 23 October 2010, journalists were assaulted and insulted at New Meena Theater Company in Saptari, an eastern district of Nepal.

Journalists Sachin Pokharel and Baidhnath Yadav, were harassed while they were covering news for a special program on Dashain, the great festival of Nepal. According to the journalists, they were there to cover a story on uncontrolled gambling, drinking, and nude dancing in the name of the festival.

Pokharel and Yadav accused officials of the Armed Police Force (APF) of protecting the people involved in those activities. "Our cameras, mobiles and identity cards were confiscated on the orders of police officials," said Pokharel after the incident. Both journalists sustained injuries in the attack.

Freedom Forum strongly condemns the assault and asks the government to investigate the incident as soon as possible and bring the guilty to book.

The incident is more complicated because of the connection to police officials - who are supposed to be accountable for maintaining law and order and safeguarding journalists' right to report freely. Freedom Forum calls on the government not to leave any stone unturned in their efforts to provide a congenial atmosphere for journalists to work in without obstructions.

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