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Nepalese journalist expelled without notice

Freedom Forum has recorded two incidents of press freedom violations and violations of people's right to information in Nepal.

On 4 Jun 2013, four FM radios in Gulmi closed down. News presenter, editor and reporter Pradeep Kaphle who works at the Damauli FM was sacked without prior notice and his program banned.

Kaphle said to the Media Monitoring Desk of Freedom Forum, "I was banned from entering the FM Office by management on 4 June; my programs were also cancelled and banned from airing a day earlier. I was informed over the phone but not with a formal or written letter."

The decision to sack him, he argues, came suddenly after the management meeting of 2 June attended by the station's patron Govind Raj Joshi.

This is the second time he is harassed and humiliated by the FM station. He was demoted from news chief to news reader and reporter on 21 January 2013 merely because he aired the views of a leader live from a program. The leader's speech was objected to by Joshi, making Kaphle a victim of the rivalry between political leaders in the district.

Kaphle further informed Freedom Forum that he was on the regular staff as news chief, editor and reporter since the establishment of the FM radio station five years earlier. He has shares in it too.

"I, despite being victimized by the management, need a respected exit- I need an official letter which I've not been provided yet. Then, I myself will tender resignation and leave this hostile work atmosphere."

Kaphle's story shows the deplorable situation of a working journalist in Nepal. The station's management did not abide by the Working Journalists' Act but suppressed a journalist's rights, and misused him for partisan interests.

Freedom Forum vehemently condemns this act committed by the FM management which not only disgraced and humiliated the journalist but also violated citizens' right to information by banning his programs.

In a separate case in Gulmi, four FM stations- Radio Resunga, Community Radio Sky, Ruru FM and Gulmi FM - were shut down entirely in a bid to mount pressure on the concerned authorities to manage regular power supply for the purpose of airing their content.

Talking to Freedom Forum, Ghanashyam Gautam, station manager at the Community Radio Sky, said, "We were compelled to close down the FMs because there was no power supply round the clock for the FMs, in the entire district."

He argued it was because of the irresponsibility of the Office of the Electricity Authority in the district. It failed to manage load shedding hours.

On the other hand, the people in the district have been desperately waiting for radios to resume operations as the closures deprived them of the information they sought.

Therefore, every concerned authority in the district needs to address the acute shortage of power supply in Gulmi district and ensure people's right to information.

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