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Nepalese government official attacks reporter, apologises later

DB Budha, a reporter with Nagarik daily based in Jumla, a remote mountainous district in the mid-western region of Nepal, was attacked by a government officer over a news story on August 18, 2013.

Mun Bahadur Rawal, Account Officer at the District Development Committee (DDC) of Jumla, attacked Budha at the Jumla airport for the reporter's story on the absence of officers in the DDC office.

Talking to Freedom Forum's media monitoring desk, the reporter said, "Account officer Rawal even threatened to take my life [because] I had written a story about the absence of certain officials in the DDC office, including Rawal."

Budha specified that the story was based on fact.

According to a news report, Rawal later apologised to the reporter, promising to not repeat such an incident but respect press freedom and the people's right to information.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident and at the same time thanks the account officer for realising his mistake and for his commitment to respect press freedom.

In a separate incident, on August 14, an individual named Som Bahadur Thapa berated Samundra Poudel, a reporter with Nagarik daily from Tanahu, a hilly district in western Nepal.

Poudel was harassed while he was reporting on a discussion aimed at resolving a dispute among villagers over public land.

Talking to Freedom Forum, Poudel said, "Thapa manhandled me, accusing me of speaking against his views during the discussion on the dispute over the public land. I was there to report on the land dispute."

The incident is an attack on journalists' right to freely report and press freedom. Freedom Forum condemns the incident, and strongly urges Mr Thapa to respect others' views and the journalist's right to report.

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