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Nepalese radio station manager threatened over story on illegal activities

Om Ghayal, the manager of Radio Shaligram in Parbat, a district in western Nepal, has received a death threat over a news story aired on the station.

On 5 July 2015, Ram Krishna Malla, a local resident running a stone crusher industry, issued the threat.

Talking to Freedom Forum, Ghayal, who is a senior journalist in the district, said, "I was threatened by Malla, the owner of the crusher, merely because my station aired a story about the illegal operation of the crusher industry. The crusher industry was set up by encroaching upon the roadway and religious site."

Ghayal added that after the threat, he complained to the local authorities and sought protection.

The incident points to the attitude against the media of those who are doing business illegally in Nepal.

Freedom Forum condemns the incident as it is a sheer violation of press freedom. Local authorities are strongly urged to heed the matter and provide security to the Station Manager Ghayal, so as to help protect media freedom.

Criteria set for film makers, directors violates FoE

In a separate development, the Nepal Film Development Board has set new criteria for anyone producing and directing films.

As per the criteria, to be a film director, one needs to have a lead role or have been the assistant in the direction for at least five films or have worked for 10 years in any sector of the film industry. Similarly, in the case of producers, he/she needs to produce films in cooperation with experienced producers.

The criteria set by the NFDB has provoked criticism from different sectors, especially those working in defense of freedom of expression.

Freedom Forum condemns the standard the NFDB has set for producers and directors of films, as it grossly violate one's right to freedom of expression. The criteria are against one's creation and art, which are indeed a form of expression. These are therefore efforts to silence expression, which are against democratic values.

FF strongly urges the NFDB to correct the standard it has set, keeping in mind the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

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