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Journalists threatened by politician

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Freedom Forum is alarmed by a threat issued by a politician against several journalists.

On 29 January 2012, Constituent Assembly member Bal Krishna Dhungel threatened members of the media, including Manoj Ghimire of "Kantipur Daily" and camera operator Prabin Gyawali. The incident occurred during a programme in the capital city, which was also attended by the prime minister.

The politician warned that journalists who published or broadcast news about him should not take their safety for granted.

Dhungel was previously convicted by the Supreme Court in a murder case. Although the police said he was still absconding after the court verdict, he was seen with high-ranking police officers at the programme.

Freedom Forum believes that Dhungel's public threat against the journalists is a mockery of the rule of law.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Posh Nath Adhikari, a "Kantipur Daily" reporter from Dhading, a hilly district near the capital city, was robbed by unknown people while on his way home from work.

Adhikari told the Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk that "two armed persons robbed me of my digital camera, mobile phone, purse and office bag while I was returning home from my office at the district headquarters." Adhikari is also the publisher of the weekly "Mangalprabhav Kiran" publication.

Freedom Forum emphasizes that it is the state's responsibility to protect and promote the right to information, but it is a mockery of the rule of law when even a convict can freely threaten journalists. Freedom Forum believes that these types of incidents are responsible for the growing practice of self-censorship.

Freedom Forum condemns both incidents and urges the authorities to hold the culprits accountable for their actions.

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