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Police raid radio station in search for journalist's attacker

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - 17 June 2011 - A press freedom violation involving a police raid of a radio station has come to Freedom Forum's attention. The incident occurred on the evening of 16 June 2011 in Itahari, a city in the eastern part of Nepal's southern plain.

The police raided the offices of Saptakoshi FM based on information that Parshuram Basnet, the prime suspect in the attack on Biratnagar-based journalist Khilanath Dhakal, was being interviewed at the station.

The police forcefully entered the newsroom and questioned the staff about what stories they were working on, the "Annapurna" national daily reported, quoting Station Manager Chandra Neupane.

Similarly, News Chief Lila Raj Bhattarai said the officers who were in plainclothes entered the office without permission and frightened the staff while interrupting their work, in the name of protecting journalists.

Freedom Forum expresses grave concern over the incident which it deems an attack on media freedom and journalists' rights. The concerned authority should not repeat such acts. Even though the police were trying to capture an individual allegedly responsible for the attack on Dhakal, their way of interfering with news production at the radio station is unacceptable and an affront on freedom of expression.

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