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Nepalese protesters torch newspapers, press vehicle; reporter threatened

Freedom Forum is alarmed over a death threat issued against Jitendra Kumar Jha, a reporter with Nagarik daily, from Saptari, a district in the southern plains of Nepal.

Talking to Freedom Forum, reporter Jha said that a person who identified himself as Manoj Yadav called him on the night of 6 February 2015 and said, "I've entered your district from the neighbouring country to finish you off. I'll kill you at any place I meet you."

"Although I tried to ascertain the reason behind the death threat, he did not tell me anything but one-sidedly chattered, using foul language," the reporter shared his concern, adding that the security forces were not giving the case the proper attention.

Freedom Forum condemns the death threat and strongly urges the local authority and security agencies to immediately look into the incident and bring the culprit to book.

Protesters torch newspapers, press vehicle

A separate press freedom violation occured in southern Nepal on 12-13 February.

In Bara district headquarters, Kalaiya, protestors torched copies of four national dailies - Kantipur, Nagarik, Annapurna Post and Nayapatrika - on 12 February; the stated reason was that the newspapers had not publicised their protest on their front pages.

According to Right to Information (RTI) activist, Santosh Pande from Bara, the protest was led by various organizations, including the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the district. They have been organizing a general strike to protest against the government decision to open branches of public offices in different regions in the district.

On 13 February, the protestors torched a vehicle belonging to Kantipur Publications. The vehicle was carrying copies of the newspaper for
distribution.

Freedom Forum condemns the incidents and strongly urges the protestors to resort to peaceful campaigns and respect press freedom and people's rights to freedom of expression. Also, the concerned administrations need to be alert to prevent further damages to media outlets.

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