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Nepalese journalist threatened by movie star; peaceful protesters detained

Freedom Forum is concerned over a death threat issued in the capital city on April 2, 2013 against Bijay Awaj, a reporter with the online news portal OnlineKhabar.

Nepali film star Sumina Ghimire threatened Awaj and verbally abused him during a telephone conversation in connection with an analytical piece about Nepali film published on the news site.

Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, the reporter said, "I had written about trends in Nepali film. But, Ghimire spoke [abusively] to me and said she would kill me."

With the recent surge in the number of Nepali media, issues regarding the Nepali film industry have also come to the attention of the media. But, the fact that some film artists have threatened members of the media shows that these artists have yet to acknowledge the value of media freedom and citizens' right to information.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident and urges the concerned authority to provide security to Awaj to fend off a possible attack.

In a separate incident, on April 9 human rights campaigners were detained in the Baluwatar area, the place of the Prime Minister's residence.

Police arrested 12 activists who have been taking part in the "Occupy Baluwatar Campaign" for over 100 days, demanding the end of violence against women and impunity and calling for justice and the rule of law.

The following individuals were arrested: Sudha Maharjan, Sushila Maharjan, Ishan Adhikari, Jagannath Lamichhane, Bidushi Dhungel, Prajwal Shrestha, Mukesh Shrestha, Nirprakash Giri, Kunjan Kafle, Mahis Maharjan, Bikram Shreshtha and Ujwal Thapa.

The arrest of the protesters is a blatant violation of their freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest, which is guaranteed by law. Freedom Forum therefore urges the government not to suppress their voices but to respect their demands. Even though the protesters were released after a few hours, the arrests were a violation of human rights, Freedom Forum notes.

April 9 was the 103rd day of the peaceful protest. The campaign was launched by rights defenders in response to the rising number of incidents of violence against women (VAW). It is aimed at exerting pressure on the authorities to provide justice to the victims of VAW, and punish the perpetrators rigorously.

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