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Attack on Nepalese editor's vehicle

On the evening of 7 January 2014, an unknown gang attacked a vehicle that Pratik Pradhan, Chief Editor of Nagarik daily, was riding in, in the capital city of Kathmandu.

Talking to Freedom Forum's Media Monitoring Desk, the editor said, "When I was heading to Sinamangal from Old Baneshwor in the capital city, around eight unknown people carrying sticks and home-made weapons as scimitars attacked my car from the front and the rear, and vandalized it. They fled the scene swaying the weapons. [At that moment] I was stuck in traffic."

Pradhan has been dedicated to the journalistic profession for over two decades and has always been vocal against social malpractices and irregularities by exposing these matters through the media. The attack on him may have been a threat from some unscrupulous elements who feel uneasy because of his professional journalism which is devoted to democracy, press freedom and civil rights.

Asked whether there any published story could have invited such untoward activity, Pradhan said, "I've been continuously covering every misconduct and wrongdoing in my newspaper. The attackers may be linked to those who want to subdue my right to independent journalism."

On 8 January, Freedom Forum vehemently condemned the attack and strongly urged the government to immediately arrest the attackers and bring them to book. An attack on a media person in the capital city suggests that there is little security for journalists who need freedom to report and circulate information.

Official insults journalists

In a separate incident, the Chief of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), Lok Man Singh Karki, responded rudely to journalists during a press meeting in Biratnagar, a city in the southern plain of Nepal. The incident occured on 12 January, when Chief Karki was asked about the illegal supply of betel nuts.

Speaking with Freedom Forum's Media Monitor Desk, reporter Khilanath Dhakal, of the Annapurna Post daily from Biratnagar, "At a press meeting here, journalists questioned CIAA Chief Karki about the illegal import and export of betel nuts since he was appointed as the Chief. He flatly refused to answer the journalists and challenged them."

Karki further said, "Social evils and malpractices were caused because of journalists like you," according to reporter Dhakal.

Despite being a high level official, Mr Karki's remarks have demeaned and disheartened journalists and affected their morale. Such incidents can act as a deterrent to the practice of professional journalism.

Therefore, Freedom Forum urges the CIAA Chief to respect journalists and help create a favourable atmosphere for free reporting.

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