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Journalists subjected to abuse, death threats over reporting

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Freedom Forum is concerned by a serious press freedom violation in Kalikot, a district in the mid-western region of the country.

On 30 March 2011, Deula Singh Thakuri, a journalist with the newspaper "Education Pages", received a death threat by mobile phone. The call came from an unknown person who told Thakuri, "You will be killed within a few days as you published the news about SLC exams."

Thakuri said he had reported on alleged irregularities within the District Education Office in Kalikot while the office was administering School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations in various exam centers.

Freedom Forum has also learned of another press freedom violation in Sunsari, a district in the eastern part of the southern belt of Nepal, which occurred on 27 March 2011.

Subodh Yadav, a journalist from Morang, a neighbouring district of Sunsari, who works for the local online news portal , was beaten by officers with the Indian Border Security Force (SSB) while he was photographing near the Phalkaha border point for a report on criminal activity in the Nepal-India border area. The SSB personnel detained Yadav for three hours, beat him and deleted all photos he had taken. The SSB officers accused Yadav of being a spy for the Nepali Army.

Yadav said he was beaten and subjected to psychological harassment by the SSB officers without cause, as he was simply covering the news of criminal activity in the border area.

This latest incident shows that journalists in Nepal face threats not only within the country but also from security forces in neighbouring India.

Freedom Forum condemns both of these incidents and urges the concerned local administrations to ensure a free and safe working environment for all journalists.

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