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Journalists injured during police action in Nepal

Security personnel intervened at a peaceful sit-in by journalists in the capital city of Kathmandu on May 6, 2013. The journalists were demanding the reinstatement of their colleague Shiva Regmi at Metro FM (94.6), a radio station operated by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).

Jeevan Bhandari, a journalist with Kathmandu-based Nepal Bani FM, had his leg fractured during the police action while others sustained minor injuries.

The incident occurred when police prevented journalists who had gone to the offices of the KMC from entering the premises. The police barred journalists from organizing a sit-in protest at the main gate of the offices and pushed them back.

Regmi, who had been working at Metro FM for the past ten years, was sacked by the FM management a month ago. The agitating journalists have accused the station of sacking Regmi without any reason while the management says the journalist had failed to comply with office regulations.

Bhandari is undergoing treatment at Model Hospital, in Kathmandu. Talking to Freedom Forum's media monitoring desk over the telephone from the hospital, the journalist said, "The KMC management opted to dodge [the protesting journalists] by not even receiving their memorandum addressed to KMC Kedar Bahadur Adhikari."

Freedom Forum condemns the brazen attack by security personnel on the journalists, who were staging a peaceful sit-in to express their demand for professional security. The Forum asks the government to investigate the incident and bring the guilty parties to book.

In a separate development, Freedom Forum expressed concern over a May 3, 2013 attack on a journalist in Kathmandu.

Ramesh Lamsal, a reporter with the National News Agency of Nepal (RSS), was attacked by an unknown gang at Nepaltar, in Kathmandu, on the night of May 3 while he was returning home from his office.

Talking to Freedom Forum's media monitoring desk, the reporter said, "As soon as my office's driver dropped me near my home, four persons who were on two motorcycles attacked me and kicked me with their boots. I received bruises. After a while some soldiers from a nearby barrack arrived but the attackers fled."

According to Lamsal, the assailants said, "This is what you get for writing news stories."

As such, it is evident that the attack was coordinated and Lamsal was attacked for his news writing, in a violation of press freedom.

Freedom Forum, therefore, vehemently condemns the attack and strongly demands that the local authority and security forces identify, arrest and sanction those responsible.

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